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.