Friday, October 6, 2017

Special Teams Key Victory

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds hit the road for the first time this season and used three power play goals and a shorthanded tally to get past the UPEI Panthers 5-3 tonight in Charlottetown.

Although UNB came out strong in the first period and out-shot the Panthers 12-5, it was the home team getting on the board first with the only goal of the period. After some sustained pressure following a power play by the Varsity Reds, UPEI was able to get the puck out of the zone and break out on a rush that ended with Sam Aulie sliding the puck past Alex Dubeau.

In the 2nd period the V-Reds played arguably their most dominant period in recent memory as they were credited with 24 shots on goal to the Panthers 2. However, Matt Mancina was up to the task, making a number of larcenous saves to keep it a 1-0 game. The game finally turned in UNB's favour when Filip Rydstrom was assessed a five minute major penalty at 14:39 for charging Colin Suellentrop, and for the second straight game the V-Reds were able to strike for a trio of late 2nd period goals to take control. At 15:22 Kris Bennett found Christopher Clapperton with a cross-ice pass. Clapperton's shot was stopped but Stephen Anderson collected the rebound in the slot and fired it into a wide open cage. Then, after a scramble in front of the net, Oliver Cooper (Gazzola, Brace) was in the right spot at the right time to clean up the garbage in the crease, tapping the puck into an open net at 18:04 to give UNB the lead. Anderson (Clapperton, McIvor) struck again for his second goal of the night - and fifth of the season - just five seconds after the major penalty expired at 19:44 when he picked the top right corner with a wrist shot off a rush, giving UNB a 3-1 lead that they would take into the intermission.

The V-Reds extended their lead just 2:08 into the 3rd period with another special teams goal, this time shorthanded. Kris Bennett stripped the puck from a Panthers player in the neutral zone and went in all alone on Mancina, beating him with a backhander between the legs to make it a 4-1 game. A goal from Kameron Kielly got UPEI back to within 4-2 at 8:01, but another five minute major penalty and subsequent power play goal from Cameron Brace (Gazzola, Dubeau), who skated through a couple of defenders before one handing the puck between Manicina's legs for an early goal of the year candidate, restored the three goal lead and pretty much sealed the game with 6:23 remaining. Panthers defenseman Ryan MacKinnon closed out the scoring at 17:16, depositing his own rebound at the side of the net. Shots in the period were 13-5 for UNB.

- Shots in the game favoured the V-Reds 49-12.

- Trey Lewis drew into the line-up, replacing Matt Boudens.

- UNB was 3 for 7 on the power play while UPEI was 0 for 4.

- Defenceman Tristan Pomerleau was visibly shaken up after being on the receiving end of Beau McCue's 5 minute charging major in the 3rd period. He needed helped off the ice and did not return.

- The V-Reds struggled all night in the face-off circle, losing 42 out of 70 face-offs in the game.

- Alex Dubeau received his second straight start in goal.

- Cooper and Bennett both scored their first career AUS goal.

- Although he was held off the score-sheet, Peter Trainor had a number of high quality chances only to be denied by Mancina each time.

- UNB improves to 9-0-1 in their last 10 games against UPEI.

- Elsewhere around the AUS tonight, the St. FX X-Men avoided disaster by defeating Acadia 5-4 in a shootout in Wolfville after blowing a 4-0 1st period lead and the Saint Mary's Huskies got past Dalhousie 4-1.

- UNB returns to the ice on Wednesday when they travel to Moncton to face the Aigles Bleus for a 7PM puck drop.