Saturday, December 30, 2017

V-Reds Bury Rams With Late Flurry

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds broke open a close game with a burst of five unanswered goals over the final 11:31 to pull away from the visiting Ryerson Rams in an 8-2 victory this afternoon at the AUC. With the victory the V-Reds capture the Pete Kelly Cup for the 12th consecutive season.

After a scoreless opening twenty minutes in which UNB out-shot the Rams 14-8 the Varsity Reds got on the board first while shorthanded 6:22 into the middle stanza. Some aggressive forechecking by Matt Boudens caused Rams goaltender Taylor Dupuis to misplay the puck near the half boards. Boudens picked up the puck and found Kris Bennett near the far post on a 2-on-1 down low and the rookie banged it in. The Rams took out Dupuis - who was once again outstanding, stopping 17 out of 18 shots - just after the halfway mark of the period and replaced him Brodie Barrick, who has yet to see a minute of regular season action this season. Ryerson evened the score at 15:53 with Brandon Hughes taking a pass from behind the net as he was skating towards the goal and quickly snapping past Rylan Parenteau. However, just like last night, the Varsity Reds quickly responded as Mike Thomas (Willick, McIvor) got the puck at the blue line on a delayed penalty and found the top corner with a slap shot to restore UNB's lead at 16:27. Stephen Anderson (Clapperton, LeBlanc) tipped in a point shot at 19:52 to make it a 3-1 lead heading into the final twenty minutes, after a period in which the Rams out-shot the V-Reds 9-7.

Ryerson made the game interesting with Kyle Tibbo scoring 2:52 into the 3rd period to cut the deficit to a goal, but the floodgates opened shortly after. Three quick goals  from Tyler Boland (from Anderson and Clapperton at 8:29), Randy Gazzola (Bennett, Goulet at 9:13), and Thomas (McIvor, Willick at 10:42) made it a comfortable 6-2 lead and then they capped the contest with goals on both ends of a 5-on-3 power play, first by LeBlanc (Gazzola, Goulet at 17:43) and then by Cameron Brace (Murphy, McIvor at 18:48). Shots in the final frame were 17-11 for UNB.

- Shots in the game favoured the V-Reds 38-28. One could argue that, despite the score, today's game was actually a much more even contest than last night's 6-5 overtime victory.

- Mark Simpson was once again the lone scratch.

- UNB went 2 for 7 on the power play while the Rams were shut-out on 7 opportunities.

- Mike Thomas (2 goals) and Kyle Tibbo (1 goal, 1 assist) were named their team's player of the game.

- Rylan Parenteau played all 60 minutes and was sharp, stopping 26 out of 28 shots.

- UNB had another strong game in the face-off circle, winning 48 out of 75 draws. Dylan Willick (13 out of 20), Tyler Boland (9 out of 14), and Alexandre Goulet (also 9 out of 14) led the way.

- Attendance was a solid 2368 for a rare afternoon game.

- Chris Clapperton was named the tournament MVP.

- The tournament all-star team consisted of forwards Stephen Anderson and Tyler Boland and defenceman Olivier LeBlanc along with Ryerson goaltender Taylor Dupuis, forward Devon Paliani, and defenceman Jared Walsh.

- Although Ryerson lost both games and were outscored 14-7 in the process, they showed they can hang with one of the top teams in the country for long stretches. Keep in mind that this is a team that was 8-18-2 in conference play just 7 years ago and were routinely hovering around 0.500 most years until they broke out to the tune of a 22-4-2 record last season. This is an up and coming program that has improved by leaps and bounds this decade. They will no doubt use this experience as a learning tool as they look to get back here for the University Cup in March.

- The Varsity Reds are 11-0-0 at the AUC this season and are 33-1-0 on home ice since the beginning of last season.

- UNB lost 4-3 in overtime to Saint Mary's in the final of the inaugural Pete Kelly Cup in 2005/2006, but has captured every edition since.

- The 8 goals scored tie a season-high. They also scored 8 in a win over UPEI on November 24th.

- Regular season action resumes this upcoming weekend at the AUC when the V-Reds host Dalhousie on Friday night and St. FX on Saturday night, in what most likely will be a battle for first place. Both games are scheduled for a 7PM puck drop.