Saturday, November 18, 2017

UNB Escapes With Win

In a game that featured just about everything, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds blew a two goal 3rd period lead only to recover with a late goal of their own to scrape by the Dalhousie Tigers 4-3 tonight in Halifax. The V-Reds, now 12-0-2 on the season, maintain their two point lead atop the AUS standings.

- The two teams skated through a scoreless opening period, although it had appeared Kris Bennett opened the scoring with a shot that went in but through the net and out the back. However, after the next stoppage in play the referees had a lengthy conversation with the goal judge and amongst themselves, finally deciding there was not sufficient enough evidence to call it a good goal.

- Peter Trainor (Gazzola, Brace) got the visitors on the board first with a power play goal at 9:03 of the 2nd period with a wrist shot from the blue line that evaded everything and went straight past a screened Corbin Boes. This would be the only goal through the first forty minutes of the game.

- After Colton Heffley tied the game 22 seconds into the 3rd period, UNB quickly responded when Trey Lewis (Thomas, Gazzola) tucked the puck in from the crease at 1:55 to restore the lead. It was Lewis' first goal as a V-Red. A Cameron Brace (Simpson, Suellentrop) goal off the rush, in which he executed a nice toe-drag to get the puck around a defender before snapping a wrist shot far side on Boes, at 8:01 had the Varsity Reds seemingly well in control. Things looked even more dire for the Tigers when they took five minor penalties in a 4:11 span at the mid-point of the period, but not only did the V-Reds fail to capitalize on the golden opportunities to put the game away, Alex Pawelczyk scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 12:40 to pull Dalhousie within a goal. They carried that momentum forward and, after killing off the rash of penalties, were able to tie the game at 17:56 when Aiden Jamieson just threw a shot onto net that found its way past Rylan Parenteau. With the game looking like it may improbably be headed for overtime Matt Boudens bailed out his team when he beat Boes with an unassisted wraparound goal with just 61 seconds remaining. To make the night even more interesting, Parenteau had to leave the game with 50 seconds remaining due to an equipment issue that couldn't be quickly fixed, so Alex Dubeau was forced to come on and make a couple of saves to help secure the victory.

- Shots in the game were 42-23 for UNB. The period totals were 18-6, 9-5, and 15-12.

- Christopher Clapperton remained out of the line-up. Dylan Willick left the game for a stretch after being on the receiving end of a penalized hit along the boards. He eventually returned.

- UNB's power play continues to struggle mightily, going a woeful 1 for 12 with the man advantage, including a pair of long 5-on-3 opportunities. They also surrendered their first shorthanded goal of the season. The Tigers were 0 for 3 on the night.

- The V-Reds won 46 out of 83 face-offs in the game. Mark Simpson was a workhouse, taking 34 draws and winning 21 of them.

- UNB has blown three different two goal leads to the Tigers in their last two games in Halifax. In their final meeting last season, Dalhousie rallied from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits before eventually falling 6-4.

- With Alberta’s 4-0 loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies tonight, UNB becomes the lone team in the country without a regulation loss.

- St. FX kept the pressure on the V-Reds with a 6-1 home win over UPEI and Saint Mary's won their 6th in a row with a 7-2 victory in Moncton.

- The Varsity Reds are back on home ice on Friday night when they host the UPEI Panthers in a game that will also be the 2nd Annual Teddy Bear Toss. If there is one regular season game to attend, this is certainly the one as it is for a great cause with all stuffed toys collected going to children in need. As an added incentive, if 1000+ stuffed animals are collected ticket holders will receive 40% off their entire bill that night at the Snooty Fox. Game time is 7PM.

Friday, November 17, 2017

V-Reds Pick Up A Point

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored a late goal to tie the game, but a Michael Clarke power play goal early in overtime lifted the St. FX X-Men to a 3-2 victory tonight in Antigonish. With the win, the 10-1-2 X-Men inch slightly closer to the first place 11-0-2 V-Reds.

- UNB got on the board first when Cameron Brace found Tristan Pomerleau with a pass from the corner as the rookie defender was streaking towards the net. Pomerleau made a nice move to navigate the puck around goaltender Chase Marchand to give the visitors a 1-0 lead 2:35 into the contest.

- The early goal sparked the V-Reds and they took the play to the X-Men for the majority of the first period. However, St. FX took a lead into the intermission thanks to goals from Anthony Difruscia - just after a lengthy UNB shift in the offensive zone - at 13:12 and a Holden Cook power play marker into the top corner at 18:22.

-  The 2-1 lead would hold up for the next 39+ minutes until Marcus McIvor (Willick) picked the corner with a wrist shot through traffic to tie the game 2-2 at 17:43 of the 3rd period. 

- A Colin Suellentrop delay of game penalty with 42 seconds in regulation time proved to be fatal as the X-Men's lethal power play struck again to win the game 39 seconds into the extra session. Clarke was stationed down low when he got a pass that he could redirect just past Alex Dubeau's outstretched leg for the game winner.

- Shots in the game were 48-15 for UNB with period totals of 12-6, 12-6, 24-2, and 0-1.

- One of the main differences in the game was the special teams. St. FX converted on 2 of their 4 power play chances while the V-Reds power play continues to be M.I.A., going 0 for 4.

- The other was the play of the opposing goal, in this case Marchand in the X-Men goal. and the lack of puck luck and finish from the V-Reds, something that has become an increasingly common theme recently.

- Christopher Clapperton remains sidelined with a concussion.

- The teams were fairly even in the face-off circle with St. FX holding a slight 35-33 advantage.

- Marchand, Cook, and Pomerleau were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was 718.

- In other games around the league tonight, UPEI doubled Dalhousie 4-2 in Halifax and Acadia added to the Aigles Bleus recent misery with a 9-1 beating in Moncton. Moncton has now been out-scored 28-4 in their last four games.

- The Varsity Reds will look to get back to their winning ways tomorrow night when they visit Halifax for a date with the Dalhousie Tigers. Game time is 7PM and can be viewed on www.AUStv.ca.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Brace Honoured

4th year Varsity Reds forward Cameron Brace has been named the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week after multi-point efforts in each of UNB's two wins.

On Friday night, in the most anticipated and important game of the season thus far, the veteran Brace picked up a pair of assists in a 5-3 victory over the St. FX X-Men. He followed that up with two goals - one being shorthanded - in Saturday's 3-1 win against Dalhousie.

After an inconsistent and injury-plagued season last year, Brace has quietly put together a solid 2017-2018 campaign so far. He is currently tied for 3rd on the team in scoring with 3 goals and 10 assists for 13 points.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Varsity Reds Survive Scare

Rookie defenceman Tristan Pomerleau’s first career goal late in the game proved to be the game winner as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds pulled out a tight 3-1 win over the visiting Dalhousie Tigers tonight at the AUC in a game that was noticeably lacking the sharpness and intensity as the night before. The 11-0-1 V-Reds maintain their three point lead over second place St. FX while the 6th place Tigers drop to 2-9-1, just one point out of the basement.

- The visitors were first on the board with the only goal of the opening period. The Tigers executed a nice tic-tac-toe passing play off the rush with Alex Pawelczyk driving to the side of the net and getting the final touch, slamming the puck into a wide open cage at 17:25 to give Dalhousie a 1-0 lead. Shots in the period were 15-9 for UNB.

- It wasn't until the V-Reds 25th shot of the night at 10:58 of the 2nd period that they were able to tie the game while shorthanded. Mark Simpson stole the puck from a defender in the neutral zone and broke in on a two-on-one with Cameron Brace. Simpson found Brace with a cross-ice pass and with Tigers goalie Joseph Gladnick moving right to left to follow the pass, Brace snapped the puck back against the grain and into the vacated left side of the net. The two teams would head into the intermission tied at 1 after a period in which the V-Reds out-shot the Tigers 16-3.

- Dalhousie clamped down defensively in the early part of the 3rd period, doing a good job at limiting UNB's shots and chances. The Varsity Reds started to generate some pressure as the period went on and were rewarded with the go-ahead goal at 14:17 when Tristan Pomerleau (Boland, Bennett) picked up a loose puck at the face-off circle and fluttered over Gladnick's left shoulder and into the net. It was Pomerleau's first career AUS goal. A Cameron Brace penalty gave the Tigers a golden opportunity to tie it up, but the V-Reds killed it off and Brace (Trainor, Caissy), coincidentally, sealed the game with an empty net marker at 18:35 to make it a 3-1 final. UNB out-shot the Tigers 10-6 in the frame.

- Christopher Clapperton remained sidelined with a concussion.

- Shots in the game were 41-18.

- Brace and Stephen Anderson led the way with six shots apiece.

- UNB's power play is officially struggling. They went 0 for 6 on the night and are 0 for their last 12 over the previous three games. The Tigers were 0 for 3 with the man advantage.

- Rylan Parenteau picked up his third win in as many starts in goal. He is currently sporting a 1.33 GAA and 0.925 save percentage on the season.

- Pomerleau, Tigers goalie Joseph Gladnick, and Brace were the game's three stars.

- The V-Reds dominated the face-off circle, winning 51 out of 75 draws. Tyler Boland (14 out of 21), Mark Simpson (14 out of 20), and Chris Caissy (11 out of 14) all had strong efforts.

- Attendance was 2083.

- Before the game team captain Dylan Willick was presented with the 2017 Rod Pike Memorial Scholarship.

- UNB has won 21 straight home games and 22 games in a row overall against the Tigers in regular season play.

- They have won 32 consecutive regular season home games, including all 7 so far this year. They have only given up more than 3 goals twice during the streak.

- At 11-0-1 the Varsity Reds are off to their best start since opening the 2009-2010 season 12-0-0.

- Former V-Reds defenceman Jordan Murray notched a hat-trick, including the overtime winner, in the Belleville Senators (AHL) win last night.

- It was status quo across the conference last night. St. FX scored a pair of late goals to get past UPEI 4-2 in Charlottetown and Saint Mary's thumped Moncton 7-1 in Halifax.

- UNB is on the road next week for a rematches against St. FX and Dalhousie. They are in Antigonish to face the X-Men on Friday night before visiting the Tigers the next night. Game time is 7PM for both contests and they can be viewed at www.AUStv.ca.

UNB To Face Team Poland

In an announcement made yesterday, the Varsity Reds will be facing Poland's national men's hockey team for an exhibition game at the AUC on Sunday, December 10th. Game time is scheduled for 2PM.

Poland, currently ranked 20th in the world by the IIHF, are led by a pair of familiar names in head coach - and former NHL and QMJHL coach - Ted Nolan and assistant coach - and former UNB head coach - Tom Coolen.

The team will be in Fredericton for about a week and will be using the AUC and High Performance Centre for training.

The Varsity Reds conclude the first half of their regular season schedule on December 2nd and would have had almost a month off before playing Ryerson in the Pete Kelly Challenge on December 29th and 30th.

Tickets for the game are now on sale at the box office and online.

Friday, November 10, 2017

V-Reds Take Round One Versus X-Men

The #2 nationally ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds built a 4-1 lead and held on for an important 5-3 victory over the visiting St. FX X-Men tonight in front of a big crowd at the AUC. It was the first meeting between the rivals since last year’s AUS Final. The 10-0-1 V-Reds hand St. FX their first regulation loss of the season and extend their lead over the second place X-Men to three points.

The game looked like it might be a blow-out as the Varsity Reds out-shot the X-Men 15-1 over the first fifteen minutes and, in the process, grabbed a 2-0 lead. The home side struck just 1:56 into the game when Brandon Hope gave up a juicy rebound off of a Matt Murphy shot right to Chris Caissy in the slot, who deposited it into the wide open cage. Randy Gazzola also picked up an assist on the goal. Dylan Willick (Brace, Bennett) doubled the lead at 7:54 when he backhanded a shot from the top of the crease over a sprawled out Hope and into the top of the net. The X-Men responded at 15:14 and cut the lead in half on the their third shot of the game. A point shot off of a face-off win made its way through a number of bodies and Bryson Cianfrone, standing in front of Alex Dubeau, was able to deflect it past the V-Reds netminder. UNB would take the 2-1 lead into the break after out-shooting the X-Men 18-5 in the opening period.

The two teams played through an entertaining, although scoreless, 2nd period. Each team had a couple of power play opportunities and the V-Reds had a goal waved off late in the period due to a Matt Boudens interference penalty. Shots in the period were 16-7 for UNB.

The Varsity Reds built a 4-1 lead in the opening minutes of the 3rd period and looked well on their way to putting the game away. At 1:17 Kris Bennett (LeBlanc) used a defender as a screen to beat Hope with a wrist shot from the left face-off dot to make it 3-1 and then, at 4:44, Oliver Cooper (Pomerleau, Brace) slid in a backhanded shot on a wraparound to give the V-Reds a three goal cushion. However, as the X-Men have shown a number of times this season, they are resilient and were able to answer both goals, due in part to some undisciplined play from UNB and a fortunate call. At 6:46 Kristoff Kontos picked up a big rebound in the slot and hammered it home for a power play goal to make it 4-2. Exactly six minutes later, with Colin Suellentrop off for 10 and 2 for hitting to the head, Michael Clarke picked up the puck at the V-Reds blue line on a play that was clearly offside, but not called, and quickly found Adam Stevens for a short break. Stevens went forehand to backhand to beat Dubeau and cut the deficit back to one at 4-3. Shortly after the goal the X-Men had a glorious chance to tie the game with Kontos picking up a rebound and staring at a wide open cage, but Dubeau made the save of the game, diving across the crease save to preserve the lead. The X-Men's momentum didn't last long though, as Peter Trainor (Caissy, Boudens) gave UNB some much needed insurance less than two minutes later, firing a laser beam short side past Hope's ear and into the top corner at 14:30. St. FX pulled their goalie for the final 88 seconds of the game but to no avail, as the Varsity Reds held on for the 5-3 win. UNB held an 11-10 shot advantage in the period.

- Once again, Christopher Clapperton was the lone scratch for UNB. The X-Men were playing two men short, due in large part to having three players suspended after instigating a brawl against Acadia last week.

- Shots in the game were 45-22 for the Varsity Reds. Bennett had a game-high 8 shots on goal.

- UNB was 0 for 5 on the power play. St. FX second ranked power play struck twice on 7 opportunities against the V-Reds league-leading penalty kill.

- Caissy, Brace, and Cianfrone were named the game's three stars.

- UNB won 38 out of 64 face-offs. Mark Simpson had the best night with 14 wins in 22 chances.

- The announced attendance was 3374 on Southside Elementary Schools Night and Home Depot Night. The actual attendance was much lower, but it was still the biggest crowd of the season thus far.

- Dubeau improves to 8-0-1 on the season.

- After winning their first 8 games of the season, St. FX is 0-1-2 in their last 3.

- UNB and the 9-0-0 Alberta Golden Bears are the only two teams in the country to have not yet lost in regulation time.

- Trainor's goal was his first regular season marker since January 27th, 2016.

- UNB has won 15 straight regular season home games against St. FX. The last time the X-Men won a regular season game at the AUC was February 12th, 2010, when they handed the 26-0-0 V-Reds their first loss of the season.

- Of course, the X-Men have won the last two playoff games between the two at the AUC.

- Elsewhere around the AUS last night, Acadia got some key players back from injury/suspension and routed Moncton 6-1 in Wolfville and UPEI rallied for a critical 5-4 home win over Dalhousie.

- The Varsity Reds are back on home ice tonight as they take on Dalhousie. Game time is 7PM.




Saturday, November 4, 2017

Back In First Place

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds survived a tough game against the UPEI Panthers tonight, ultimately coming out on top with a 3-2 victory in Charlottetown. UNB moves to 9-0-1 on the season, one point ahead of the 8-0-2 St. FX X-Men heading into their first meeting of the season on Friday.

- The home side grabbed a 1-0 lead 7:47 into the opening period when Kameron Kielly snuck the puck through Alex Dubeau's pads off of a rush.

- The V-Reds answered at 13:11 with Tyler Boland (Pomerleau, Suellentrop) deftly redirecting a point shot from the side of the net over Matt Mahalak's right shoulder.

- UNB took their first lead of the night while shorthanded at 11:19 of the 2nd period. Dylan Willick broke down the right side with a teammate and opted to shoot, putting the puck into the top corner on the short side.

- The Panthers tied the game back up just over two minutes later. Chris Caissy attempted to go up the middle to clear the puck out of the UNB zone, but Riley Whittingham swooped in to intercept it and beat Dubeau clean with a wrist shot from the slot.

- The Varsity Reds got the eventual game-winner at 7:25 of the 3rd period on a bit of a fortuitous play. Mahalak went behind the net to play the puck and got tangled up with Cameron Brace. Brace was able to throw the puck towards the net, where Oliver Cooper managed to get a stick on it and put it in before the Panthers goaltender could get back in position.

- UPEI pulled Mahalak for the last 57 seconds and had a few solid scoring chances in hopes of tying the contest, but the V-Reds held the fort to pick up the big two points.

- Christopher Clapperton was once again the lone scratch.

- Shots in the game were 26-23 for UNB with period totals of 9-8, 10-5, and 7-10. It was the first time this season the V-Reds have been held below 31 shots on goal.

- It was a much better defensive performance from the Panthers given UNB had put up 48 and 49 shots in the first two regular season meetings this season. It was even more impressive considering UPEI was playing with only five defenceman as veteran Austin Levi was scratched after warm-up.

- For the first time this season the V-Reds did not score a power play goal, going 0 for 1 on the night. The Panthers were 0 for 4.

- UNB won 40 out of 78 face-offs. Mark Simpson was 16 out of 29.

- The V-Reds are 16-0-1 in their last 17 games against UPEI, including 4-0-0 (3-0-0 in regular season, 1-0-0 in exhibition) this season.

- They are also on a 22-0-2 run in regular season games dating back to last season. They went 13-0-1 to end last year and are, of course, 9-0-1 this year.

- This was the only conference game played tonight.

- As mentioned above, UNB and the 2nd place St. FX X-Men will finally meet for the first time next Friday night at the AUC. Game time is 7PM.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Bennett Stars Again

For the second straight Friday night Kris Bennett was the offensive star for the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. The rookie forward recorded a hat-trick as the V-Reds rolled to a 6-1 win over the visiting Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus tonight at the AUC. UNB moves to 8-0-1 on the season while Moncton remains in the basement with a 1-7-2 mark.

Despite peppering goaltender Alexi Thibaudeau with 23 shots in the opening period, the V-Reds only managed a single goal, and it was a bit of a lucky one. Thibaudeau made the original save off of a rising shot from the slot, but the puck bounced off of his shoulder high in the air and came down behind him where it eventually got knocked into the net. Chris Caissy got credit for the marker with Peter Trainor and Matt Boudens picking up the helpers at 11:42.

The shots kept coming in the 2nd period with UNB firing another 22 on net compared to Moncton's 9 shots directed towards Rylan Parenteau. The Varsity Reds got some breathing room at 7:29 with Bennett (Boland, Anderson) getting his first of the night when he surprised Thibaudeau with a quick wraparound. They would later extend the lead to 3-0 at 18:20 when Oliver Cooper (Brace, Simpson) crashed the crease to knock home a loose puck.

Moncton showed some signs of life in the early going of the 3rd period and got on the board at 9:37 when last season's leading goal scorer Jean-Francois Plante skated around a couple of defenders before snapping the puck off the bar and in to make it 3-1. The Aigles Bleus continued to push and received a power play a few minutes later with the chance to get within a goal, however UNB killed it off without issue and would seal the game with a trio of goals shortly afterwards - Bennett (Anderson) deposited a rebound at 16:13, Mike Thomas (Willick, Lewis) muscled the puck past a sprawled Thibaudeau 12 seconds later, and Bennett (Boland, Simpson) completed his hat-trick on the power play at 18:36 when he picked up a loose puck after an offensive zone face-off win, spun, and fired the puck into the top corner. Shots in the period were 14-5 for UNB.

- Christopher Clapperton was the only player out of the line-up.

- Shots in the game were 59-18 for the Varsity Reds.

- There were only 7 minor penalties called in the game. UNB was 1 for 3 on the power play while Moncton was 0 for 4.

- Bennett, Caissy, and Cooper were the game's three stars.

- The V-Reds won 46 out of 67 face-offs with all four primary centres - Mark Simpson (16 out of 22), Dylan Willick (10/17), Chris Caissy (11/13), and Tyler Boland (9/12) - having strong nights.

- Bennett had a game-high 10 shots on goal. Trey Lewis and Mark Simpson were the only two players not to register a shot.

- Attendance was 2255, a decent turnout given a massive rainstorm hammered the provincial capital for much of the night.

- UNB has now won 10 straight games - and 24 out of 25 - against Moncton.

- The amount of talent and production the V-Reds lost after last season is well documented, so it may be a bit surprising to learn that they have almost the exact same goal differential this season (+27) through 9 games as they did last season (+28). Their goal production is down slightly (43 this year vs. 49 last year), but they have been stingier defensively (16 goals allowed this year vs. 21 last year).

- There was only one other game tonight and it was a beauty. St. FX scored four straight power play goals over the final 20:28 to tie their game against Acadia 5-5 before Stephen Harper struck in overtime to give the Axemen a thrilling 6-5 victory in Wolfville.

- The Varsity Reds hit the road tomorrow for a 7PM tilt against the UPEI Panthers in Charlottetown.
The game can be viewed online at www.AUStv.ca.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

U Sports Top Ten (#4): Alberta Continues To Lead Way

The 8-0-0 Alberta Golden Bears maintained their top spot in the latest U Sports men's hockey top ten rankings, picking up 11 out of 15 first place votes and 145 points overall to out-pace a pair of AUS teams. The 7-0-1 UNB Varsity Reds (3 first place votes, 132 points) remain in the second spot while the St. FX X-Men - also 8-0-0 - received the other first place vote and 126 points to stay put at three.

Making up the rest of the top ten are the Saskatchewan Huskies (6-1-1), York Lions (6-0-0), McGill Redmen (6-2-0), Acadia Axemen (5-2-1), Calgary Dinos (4-1-3), UQTR Patriotes (6-1-0), and Ryerson Rams (4-2-0).

The Saint Mary's Huskies were among six other teams to garner votes.

Bennett Named Athlete Of The Week

Varsity Reds forward Kris Bennett has been named the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week after helping the team to two big wins on home ice over the weekend.

On Friday night Bennett was the offensive star of the game, potting two goals and picking up three assists in a 7-2 drubbing of the Acadia Axemen. He added a power play goal in Saturday night's 5-1 victory over Saint Mary's.

Bennett is quickly establishing himself as one of the top rookies in the conference. His 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 8 games ranks 6th in the league - and 2nd among all freshman, behind only UPEI's Kameron Kielly's conference-leading 16 points.

Bennett and the rest of his Varsity Red teammates will look to continue their strong start this weekend when they host Moncton on Friday night before visiting UPEI the next night.