Friday, October 27, 2017

Clapperton Injury Overshadows Big Win

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds avenged their only regular season loss to date with a convincing 7-2 rout of the visiting Acadia Axemen tonight at the AUC, improving to 6-0-1 on the season. However, the focus will undoubtedly quickly turn to the health status of star forward Christopher Clapperton, who had to be taken from the ice on a stretcher after being on the receiving end of a big hit just over a minute into the contest.

After some early offensive zone pressure Clapperton went to retrieve the puck in the Axemen corner where he was met by defenceman Alexander Lepkowski, who planted the much smaller Clapperton into the boards, slamming his head hard against the glass in the process. Clapperton fell to the ice and laid motionless as medical staff treated him and strapped him onto a stretcher, carrying him off the ice through the zamboni doors after an approximate eight minute delay. As a result of the hit Lepkowski was given a five minute major and game misconduct for boarding at 1:28. The V-Reds re-grouped and quickly connected on the long man advantage with Kris Bennett's (Caissy, Anderson) snap shot from the high slot beating goaltender Robert Steeves stick side at 2:08. The Axemen killed off the rest of the major - which included 1:07 of 5-on-3 time - without incident and would remain down by only a goal after the 1st period despite being out-shot 16-4 over the opening twenty minutes.

After weathering the initial storm the Axemen evened the game at 2:28 of the 2nd period as Boston Leier was camped out in the slot and one-timed a pass into the top right corner that Alex Dubeau didn't have much chance on. UNB restored their lead at 7:12 when Randy Gazzola carried the puck deep into the offensive zone and patiently waited while Bennett made his way to the front of the net. The veteran defenceman found the rookie forward with a pass just outside the crease and Bennett had an easy tap-in for his second goal of the night. Stephen Anderson got his second helper of the night on the goal. Mark Simpson (Brace, Cooper) then gave the V-Reds some breathing room 45 seconds later when got the puck alone in front of the net and slid a backhanded shot along the ice and in. UNB took the 3-1 lead into intermission. They also held a 10-6 shot advantage in the period. 

The Varsity Reds extended their lead to 4-1 3:49 into the 3rd period after a lengthy shift in the offensive zone eventually ended with defenceman Olivier LeBlanc, who just came on to the ice after a line change, blasting a shot straight in from just inside the blue-line. Boland and Murphy were credited with the assists on the goal. The Axemen got that goal right back with Stephen Harper depositing a rebound 58 seconds later to make it 4-2, but Stephen Anderson (Bennett, McIvor) answered 1:20 later to extend the lead to 5-2 and squash any potential Axemen momentum. Anderson (Bennett, Suellentrop) tipped in another - his league-leading 9th of the season - at 11:07 and Simpson (Bennett, Thomas) followed suit, banging in a cross-ice pass for his second of the night as well at 14:32, to put the finishing touches on a dominating performance from the defending U Sports champions. Shots in the period were 17-7 for UNB.

- According to the UNB Varsity Reds Twitter account, Christopher Clapperton is being treated at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital and is conscious, alert, and moving. He has communicated with his parents, via telephone. His condition is being monitored and is expected to remain hospitalized overnight.

- Marcus McIvor returned to the line-up after missing both games last weekend. Trey Lewis was the lone scratch.

- Shots in the game were 43-15 for UNB.

- Alex Dubeau improves to 5-0-1 on the season and 22-3-4 in his AUS career.

- UNB went 1 for 5 on the power play. Acadia was scoreless on three opportunities.

- Acadia picked up 37 penalty minutes on 9 infractions. The V-Reds only had 3 minor penalties in the game.

- Attendance was 2479 for the first night of  'Faculty and Staff Appreciation' weekend.

- Kris Bennett (5 points) was named the player of the game. Acadia did not have an answer for his speed all night as he was able to simply skate around the bigger, slower Axemen defencemen on a number of occasions.

- Anderson (2 goals, 2 assists) and Simpson (2 goals) were named the game's other two stars.

- UNB won 45 out of 76 face-offs. Dylan Willick went an absurd 14 out of 16 at the dot.

- 13 different players picked up a point in the game.

- The Varsity Reds are 28-0-3 in their last 31 games against Acadia at the AUC. Their last regulation loss came in game 3 of the 2006 AUS Finals.

- Elsewhere around the AUS tonight, St. FX moved to 7-0-0 with a 4-2 home victory over Moncton and Saint Mary's rallied from a 3-1 3rd period deficit to beat UPEI 4-3 in overtime in Charlottetown.

- The Varsity Reds are right back on home ice tomorrow night as they welcome the Saint Mary's Huskies to the AUC. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM.