Monday, February 26, 2018

V-Reds Sweep Huskies

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds have advanced to their 4th consecutive AUS Final thanks to a 6-2 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies tonight in Halifax. After a pair of tense one goal games in Fredericton, UNB completes a sweep of the best 3-of-5 semi-final series with a convincing win and now await the winner of the St. FX/Acadia series.

- Matt Murphy (Boland, Anderson) scored the lone goal of the 1st period at 11:26 after stepping up in the neutral zone to intercept the puck, executing a give-and-go in the offensive zone, and driving down the left side before sliding the puck past Eric Brassard.

- The V-Reds busted the game wide open in the 2nd period, scoring four straight goals to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Finding the back of the net were Christopher Clapperton (Anderson) at 1:16, Kris Bennett (Willick) at 4:00, Dylan Willick (Bennett, Gazzola) at 8:02, and Clapperton (Gazzola, Murphy) again at 14:28. The Huskies finally stopped the onslaught with an Aaron Berisha power play goal at 16:19 to make it 5-1 after 40 minutes.

- The two teams traded power play goals late in the 3rd period with Tyler Boland (Anderson, Gazzola) restoring UNB's five goal cushion at 14:01 before Stephen Johnson rounded out the scoring at 18:10.

- Shots in the game were 25-23 for Saint Mary's. This marked a season-low in shots on goal for the V-Reds and they only managed 80 in the entire series, well below their regular season average of 39 per game. Furthermore, they have been held below 31 shots in 6 out of their last 7 games dating back to the regular season.

- Peter Trainor and Oliver Cooper were both out of the line-up.

- Alex Dubeau was once again solid in goal for UNB. Berisha's 2nd period goal snapped a 148:03 scoreless streak for Dubeau, dating back to Bradley Latour's shorthanded goal early in the 2nd period of game 1. It also ended a string of nine consecutive V-Reds goals in the series.

- The V-Reds went 1 for 6 on the power play. SMU was 1 for 8.

- Trey Lewis received a 5 minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head only 45 seconds after Murphy opened the scoring. Once again, the V-Reds penalty kill stepped up with a Kris Bennett shorthanded breakaway being the best chance by either team during the man advantage.

- As a result of the misconduct, we can expect to see Lewis suspended for at least the first game of the AUS Final.

- Face-offs were heavily in favour of UNB at 40-28. Dylan Willick led the way with 13 wins in 20 chances.

- This is the first time UNB have swept Saint Mary's in a best-of-5 series. They have swept them in a best-of-3 series in both 2003 and 2008.

- Attendance was 1080.

- After losing 1-0 last night, St. FX got a late go-ahead power play goal to defeat Acadia 4-3 and knot their series at two game apiece. Game 5 will go Thursday night in Antigonish.

- While the V-Reds will await the winner of that game to see who they play in the best 2-of-3 AUS Final (schedule TBD), the Huskies will face the loser in a consolation series to determine the conference's third and final berth and the University Cup.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Gazzola, Bennett Capture Major Awards

The first place University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds were well represented as the AUS announced the 2017-2018 men's hockey major award winners and all-stars earlier this week.

Defenceman Randy Gazzola was the big winner as he was the only player to take home a pair of major honours. The 4th year veteran claimed the Don Wells Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player as well as the coveted Godfrey Award, which recognizes both a player's on-ice and off-ice contributions. Gazzola was also named a second team all-star along with teammates Kris Bennett and Christopher Clapperton.

Varsity Reds leading scorer Kris Bennett was also recognized, being named the recipient of the A.J. MacAdam Trophy as the conference's top rookie. Bennett finished 2nd in the conference with 18 goals and 5th overall in points with 38 while also playing a key role on both special team's units. Bennett is joined on the all-rookie team with goaltender Rylan Parenteau.

Here is the full list of award winners and all-stars:

Most Valuable Player (Kelly Trophy) - G Chase Marchand, St. FX
Rookie if the Year (A.J. MacAdam Trophy) - F Kris Bennett, UNB
Coach of the Year (Bob Boucher Trophy) - Brad Peddle, St. FX
Most Sportsmanlike Player (Don Wells Trophy) - D Randy Gazzola, UNB
Student-Athlete Community Service Award (Godfrey Award) - D Randy Gazzola, UNB

All major award winners will now become the AUS nominee for the respective U Sports award, which will be presented at the University Cup Awards Gala on Wednesday, March 14th at the Richard J. Currie Center.

First Team All-Stars

G - Chase Marchand, St. FX
D - Jagger Dirk, St. FX
D - Ryan MacKinnon, UPEI
F - Hunter Garlent, SMU
F- Stephen Harper, ACA
F - Michael Clarke, St. FX

Second Team All-Stars

G - Corbin Boes, DAL
D - Randy Gazzola, UNB
D - Cole MacDonald, ST. FX
F - Kris Bennett, UNB
F - Christopher Clapperton, UNB
F - Boston Leier, ACA

All-Rookie Team

G - Rylan Parenteau, UNB
D - Santino Centorame, St. FX
D - Dylan DiPerna - SMU
F - Kris Bennett, UNB
F - Kameron Kielly, UPEI
F - Jake Coughler, SMU

Friday, February 23, 2018

PK, Dubeau Stymie Huskies

A Cameron Brace power play goal, 24 saves from Alex Dubeau, and a lights-out penalty kill fueled the #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds to a 1-0 victory over the #4 Saint Mary's Huskies tonight at the AUC. UNB now has a 2-0 series lead in the best 3-of-5 semi-final.

- The V-Reds dominated the early going, out-shooting the Huskies 10-1 midway through the first period, but the Huskies weathered the storm and began to push back some during the latter half of the frame. UNB ultimately held a 12-5 advantage in shots on goal in a scoreless opening twenty minutes.

- A key story this game was the Varsity Reds penalty kill, and they were put to a massive test early in the 2nd period. Beginning at the 3:44 mark the V-Reds took four consecutive penalties over a a 4:16 span, leaving them shorthanded for 8 minutes out of a stretch of 8:25 of game time. Not only did UNB manage to kill them all off, they received their first power play of the game just 8 seconds after the last penalty expired and they took advantage. With what looked like another lackluster power play winding down, Cameron Brace (Boudens, LeBlanc) got time and space to carry the puck down the left side and let go a wrist shot along the ice that caught the inside of the far post for the game's first goal at the 14:00 mark. Despite scoring the loan goal in the period, the V-Reds were out-shot 12-7 in the frame.

- Alexandre Goulet had a gilt-edged chance to extend the lead in the 3rd period, but his attempt to navigate the puck between the Eric Brassards out-stretched skate and the post died on the goal line, leaving the game 1-0.

- The penalty kill was presented with one last challenge. After Mark Simpson's errant stick caught a Huskies player up high with 1:59 remaining, the Varsity Reds were forced to protect the slim lead with one of their top face-off men and penalty killers unavailable. The difficulty was further compounded when Saint Mary's gained control of the puck in the offensive zone, which allowed them to remove Brassard and make it a 6-on-4. However, the V-Reds penalty killers - and Dubeau - were once again up to the task and they fended off the Huskies last gasp to preserve a nail-biting victory. Shots in the period were 8-7 for UNB.

- Tristan Pomerleau was back in the line-up after serving an automatic one game suspension. Peter Trainor and Oliver Cooper were both out.

- Shots in the game were 27-24 for UNB.

- The V-Reds went 1 for 2 on the power play while killing off all 6 of Saint Mary's opportunities.

- Alex Dubeau was sensational in net as he earned his first career playoff shutout.

- After dominating in the face-off circle last night, the V-Reds struggled tonight in winning only 27 out of 62 face-offs.

- Dubeau, Brassard, and Brace were the three stars.

- Attendance was 2730.

- This is the 5th straight one goal game between these two teams this year. UNB has won 4 of those.

- UNB's last playoff shutout was in 2016 when Etienne Marcoux blanked UPEI. It should be noted that they have two University Cup shut-outs since then - 4-0 against Saint Mary's in 2016 and 3-0 versus Acadia last year.

- 5 out of UNB's last 7 playoff/University Cup shut-outs have come against Saint Mary's.

- The St. FX X-Men evened their semi-final series against the Acadia Axemen with a 3-0 win tonight in Antigonish. The series will now shift to Wolfville for game 3 on Sunday night and game 4 on Monday night.

- The Varsity Reds will look to complete the sweep on Monday evening in Halifax. Game time is scheduled for 7PM.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Offense From Unlikely Sources Leads V-Reds

Trailing 2-0 halfway through the opener of their best 3-of-5 semi-final, the #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds turned to their unsung heroes to rally for a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over the #4 Saint Mary's Huskies tonight at the AUC.

- The visitors scored the lone goal in an entertaining and back and forth opening twenty minutes when Anthony Repaci finished off a perfect 3-on-2 rush into the offensive zone, slapping a one-timer past Alex Dubeau.

- The Huskies doubled their lead 5:46 into the 2nd period. With the two teams skating 4-on-4 Bradley Latour got sprung for a short break and slid the puck between Dubeau's legs just as the UNB penalty expired for a shorthanded goal.

- The V-Reds comeback began at 11:21 when defenceman Marcus McIvor (Bennett, Dubeau) led a rush up the ice and curled towards the corner before throwing an innocent looking shot from a sharp angle towards the goal that somehow squeezed between Eric Brassard's arm and the post.

- It only took 12 seconds for UNB to tie the game. A hard shot off the end boards bounced out into the face-off circle to Brassard's right and Matt Boudens, chugging down the wing, stepped into the loose puck and hammered it into the net.

- After both teams skated through a scoreless 3rd period the game headed to overtime. The Varsity Reds controlled play in the extra session, taking all five shots on goal and coming close to ending the game on a handful of occasions. They finally broke through at the 7:30 mark on a somewhat similar play as their first goal, another one that Brassard would undoubtedly want back. Mark Simpson got around a defender at the blue line and broke down the right side. He put the puck on the net short side and, after appearing that Brassard it covered, it snuck just over the goal line to give UNB a 3-2 decision.

- Peter Trainor and Tristan Pomerleau were both out for the V-Reds.

- Shots in the game were 30-27 for UNB with period totals of 10-9, 10-11, 5-7, and 5-0.

- Both teams went 0 for 5 with the man advantage.

- Alex Dubeau picked up his first career playoff win. Among his 25 saves were a couple of ridiculous glove stops that prevented the game from getting out of reach.

- UNB dominated at the face-off dot, winning 44 out of 69 draws.

- Simpson, Dubeau, and Brassard were the game's three stars.

- This was UNB's first overtime playoff game since losing 2-1 to Saint Mary's in 2014. Their last overtime playoff win came a year earlier when they defeated the Huskies 1-0 in game 1 of the AUS Final on the strength of a Dion Campbell goal.

- Prior to tonight UNB had only played one overtime game at home all season - a 6-5 exhibition win over Ryerson on December 29th.

- This is Mark Simpson's 2nd career OT winner. He notched one shorthanded against St. FX last season.

- McIvor and Boudens only had one goal each during the regular season in a combined 53 games. Simpson had 7 in 26 games.

- In the other semi-final series, Acadia rallied from a pair of one goal deficits to get past St. FX 4-2 in Antigonish. Their series resumed tomorrow night.

- These two teams are back at it at the AUC tomorrow night for game 2. Game time is 7PM.

Monday, February 19, 2018

V-Reds To Open Playoffs Against Huskies

The #4 ranked Saint Mary's Huskies' 5-2 victory over the visiting #5 ranked UPEI Panthers last night in the 3rd and deciding game of their quarter-final series has set up a rematch from last year with the #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. The best 3-of-5 semi final series is set to begin this Thursday night at the AUC.

The full schedule is as follows:

Game 1 - Thursday, February 22nd at UNB
Game 2 - Friday, February 23rd at UNB
Game 3 - Monday, February 26th at SMU
Game 4 - Tuesday, February 27th at SMU (if necessary)
Game 5 - Thursday, March 1st at UNB (if necessary)

*All games will be broadcast live at www.AUStv.ca*

Some additional notes:

- This marks the 7th time these two teams have met in the playoffs since Gardiner MacDougall became head coach. UNB has won 4 out of the previous 6 encounters. Here are the details -

2003: UNB defeated SMU 2 games to 0 (2-0, 3-1) in quarter-finals
2008: UNB defeated SMU 2 games to 0 (3-2 OT, 3-2 OT2) in finals
2009: SMU defeated UNB 2 games to 1 (1-5, 3-2, 5-1) in finals
2013: UNB defeated SMU 2 games to 1 (1-0 OT, 2-5, 2-0) in finals
2014: SMU defeated UNB 3 games to 1 (2-1 OT2, 2-5, 2-1 OT2, 1-0) in semi-finals
2017: UNB defeated SMU 3 games to 1 (5-1, 7-3, 2-3, 2-1) in semi-finals

- The Varsity Reds have won 11 out of 18 games including 8 out of 10 at the AUC. They are just 3-5 in games played at the Halifax Forum.

- Despite both programs featuring high powered offenses during most of those years, there have only been 81 combined goals scored in the 18 games. UNB have scored 47 times (or 2.6 per game) and the Huskies 34 times (1.9 per game).

- The two teams met five times in the regular season with the V-Reds taking four of them. They won 4-2 in Halifax on October 21st and 5-1 at home a week later before the Huskies clawed out a 5-4 shootout win on December 1st. UNB took a pair of one goal games after Christmas - 3-2 at the AUC on January 19th and a 5-4 road decision on February 2nd.

- In another rematch from last year, the #2 St. FX X-Men battle the #3 Acadia Axemen in the other semi-final series. It will follow the same schedule as the UNB/SMU series with St. FX hosting games 1, 2 and 5 (if necessary).

- Since the AUS has three berths at the University Cup - and UNB is guaranteed one as host - if the Huskies win this series they will punch their ticket to the tournament along with the winner of the X-Men/Axemen series. If Saint Mary's loses then they will face the other semi-final loser in a best
2-of-3 consolation series for the 3rd and final berth.

- The OUA also has three berths while Canada West will have two representatives.

- Prediction time. Who do you got?

Who wins the best 3-of-5 semi-final?
UNB in 3
UNB in 4
UNB in 5
SMU in 3
SMU in 4
SMU in 5
Created with PollMaker

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

U Sports Top Ten: V-Reds Head Into Playoffs #1

As conference playoffs get underway across the country beginning tonight - culminating with the University Cup, which begins a month from tomorrow - U Sports has released its latest men's hockey top ten rankings and the Varsity Reds have jumped back on top.

A perfect 2-0-0 weekend, including a 1st place-clinching victory over #3 ranked St. FX, allowed UNB to swap places with #2 Alberta. The V-Reds gained 10 first place votes and 145 points overall compared to Alberta's 5 and 140, respectively.

St. FX (106) just nudged out McGill (105) for 3rd spot with Saskatchewan (100) not too far behind.

The rest of the top ten includes Guelph (68), Saint Mary's (49), Acadia (45), Queen's (27), and UBC (16), who make their first appearance in the rankings since November 2015.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Varsity Reds Wrap Up Season With Win

In their final game of the regular season, the defending University Cup champion University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds topped the visiting Dalhousie Tigers 4-1 in what was a rather uneventful contest, especially in wake of the emotionally-charged game against St. FX a night earlier. The win concludes a 24-2-4 season for the V-Reds while the Tigers finish in 6th place with a 9-20-1 record.

- Chris Caissy (Pomerleau, Boudens) opened the scoring for the home side at 9:58 with his first regular season goal since November 24th after breaking down the left side, collecting his own rebound after his original try was stopped, and making a nice move to get the puck past Tigers goalie Jacob Fancy.

- The V-Reds gained some breathing room midway through the 2nd period with a pair of goals. At 9:13 Cameron Brace (Bennett, Goulet) roofed a centring pass in tight and then the same trio hooked up again 4:46 later with Bennett bringing the puck out of the corner and powering to the front of the net and sliding it along the ice and in. An Andrew Shewfelt goal while the teams were playing 4-on-4 brought the Tigers back within two goals at 3-1.

- Bennett scored his 2nd of the night - and UNB's last goal of the regular season - into an empty net with 39 seconds left to seal the 4-1 victory.

- Shots in the game were 29-20 for UNB with period totals of 11-4, 8-11, and 10-5.

- Marcus McIvor remained out of the line-up. Oliver Cooper was also out, most likely due to his game misconduct on Friday night.

- There were no power play goals scored in the game despite 6 chances for Dalhousie and 7 for the V-Reds.

- Rylan Parenteau made a regular season-high 19 saves as he improved to 9-0-0 in his rookie season. His 9 victories - including 5 against Dalhousie - tied him for 4th in the AUS.

- Bennett, Brace, and Fancy were the game's three stars.

- Attendance was 2314 on what was a messy night in the provincial capital.

- Prior to the game 5th year forward Mike Thomas was presented with the Brian Johnson Hockey Scholarship.

- Dylan Willick played in his 138th career regular season game, tying former team captain Kyle Bailey for most in school history.

- Bennett's 18 goals ranked 2nd in the conference and is the 2nd highest total by a V-Red in the last 7 years, behind only Philippe Maillet's 23 last year. It is the most goals for a UNB rookie since Ryan Lindsay potted 19 in 1997-1998. His 38 points are the most by a Varsity Reds rookie since Maillet put up 41 in his freshman campaign in 2013-2014.

- With fellow rookie Tyler Boland contributing 27 points (7 goals, 20 assists), it is the first time UNB has had a pair of rookies be this productive since 2007-2008 witu both Hunter Tremblay (50) and Kyle Bailey (28).

- UNB has won 11 out of their last 12 "season closers". It is the 9th straight year they have won their final home game of the regular season.

- The rest of the AUS playoff picture cleared up with Acadia's 3-2 overtime win in Moncton, which moved the Axemen into 3rd place by virtue of their 3-2 record versus Saint Mary's this season. UPEI blew out St. FX 5-0 on the island for their 6th win in 8 games in a game that was meaningless as far as the standings were concerned.

- Here is how the final 2017-2018 standings look:

UNB: 24-2-4 = 52 points
SFX: 22-4-4 = 48
ACA: 18-10-2 = 38
SMU: 18-10-2 = 38
UPEI: 11-18-1 = 23
DAL: 9-20-1 = 19
UdeM: 3-24-3 = 9

- This means the best 2-of-3 quarter-finals will pit #3 Acadia against #6 Dalhousie and #4 Saint Mary's against #5 UPEI. UNB will then face the lowest remaining seed in the best 3-of-5 semi-finals while St. FX will get the highest remaining seed.

- For all the talent and production the Varsity Reds lost after their incredible 2016-2017 season, remarkably they finished the regular season with just one fewer point than they did last year when they went 25-2-3.

- UNB will be back in action on Thursday, February 22nd when they host game 1 of their semi-final series against a yet-to-be-determined opponent. Game 2 is set to go the next night. Both games are scheduled for a 7PM start.

Friday, February 9, 2018

V-Reds Make It 11 Straight Pennants

In a game that featured a playoff-like atmosphere and intensity, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds overcame a slow start to defeat the visiting St. FX X-Men 5-2 on the 4th annual Military Appreciation Night tonight at the AUC. The win clinches an impressive 11th straight regular season title for the 23-2-4 Varsity Reds while the second place X-Men fall to 22-3-4.

The game began tentatively as both sides felt each other out and failed  to get a single shot on goal through the first 3-4 minutes. As the game began to open up slightly, the X-Men broke through at 5:19 when Mark Tremaine got the puck at the hash marks in the slot and put the puck off the post and past Alex Dubeau. After a UNB power play just after the goal failed to yield anything, St. FX was awarded a 26 second 5-on-3 advantage midway through the period. In what may have been the turning point in the game, the V-Reds not only killed it off, but also got a few decent chances themselves. Although they took the 1-0 deficit into intermission - and only mustered 6 shots on goal in the period to the X-Men's 5 - the penalty kill seemed to give them momentum as they started to tilt the ice in their favour.

UNB took this energy into the 2nd period and exploded for three unanswered goals. At 6:01 Stephen Anderson (Clapperton, Bennett) knotted the game while on the power play when he backhanded a shot from in close that got past Chase Marchand. This was followed up at 12:47 when Mark Simpson (Gazzola, Caissy) was able to bang the puck in after it looked like Marchand had it covered to give the V-Reds a 2-1 lead. Just under two minutes later UNB's power play struck for a second time in the period after Alexandre Goulet (LeBlanc), parked at the side of the net, knocked in the puck out of midair to make it 3-1. The Varsity Reds out-shot St. FX 15-5 in the frame.

Even though they were down by a pair of goals heading into the final twenty minutes, if there is one thing the X-Men have been great at this year is finding a way to come back in the 3rd period. So perhaps it wasn't surprising when Jagger Dirk's point shot caught the inside of the post to make it 3-2 only 82 seconds into the period. However, the V-Reds responded 2:21 later when Tyler Boland first made a nice back check and steal of the puck to break up a potential 4-on-2 rush up the ice and then - with a defender draped all over him in front of the net - was strong enough to swipe in a loose puck for a huge goal that restored UNB's two goal lead. An Olivier LeBlanc (Boland, Bennett) power play goal at 15:07 put the finishing touches on this one. UNB held a 16-9 shot advantage in the period.

- Marcus McIvor was out for a second straight game. Peter Trainor was also scratched.

- Shots in the game were 37-19 for UNB.

- The special teams played a key role in this game with UNB giving the X-Men a taste of their own medicine. St. FX entered the game with the league's best power play (27.6%) and penalty kill (92.6%) yet went 0 for 5 with the man advantage while surrendering 3 power play goals in 7 chances.

- There were a total of 28 penalties and 152 penalty minutes doled out in the game. Oliver Cooper and X-Men defenseman Aaron Hoyles combined for 64 penalty minutes alone and each received a game misconduct.

- The officiating was "interesting" to say the least. Late in the game Matt Murphy skated the puck behind the X-Men net only to be slashed, which drew a penalty, and then took a blatant stick across his head, which was somehow missed. Fortunately, after being down on the ice for a few moments he was able to skate off with what appeared to be no issue.

- UNB won 42 out of 78 face-offs with the usual suspects - Dylan Willick (14 out of 24) and Mark Simpson (9 out of 15) - once again leading the way.

- Randy Gazzola was named the recipient of the Fallen Soldier Award as the game's first star. Alexandre Goulet and X-Men Mark Tremaine were the game's second and third star, respectively.

- Attendance was 3372.

- This was defenceman Colin Suellentrop's 100th career regular season game. Over that time he has amassed 2 goals, 30 assists, and a remarkable plus/minus of +80. This includes a ridiculous +72 over his last three seasons spanning 74 games.

- Cameron Brace also played 100th regular season game. He has 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) over that span.

- By virtue of finishing in first place. the V-Reds have assured themselves of home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. After previously securing a first round bye, they will play the lowest surviving seed from the quarter-finals in the best 3-of-5 semi-finals. Their first two playoff games will take place at the AUC on Thursday, February 15th and Friday, February 16th. St. FX also has a first round bye and will play the highest seed remaining after the quarter-finals.

- In the 11 straight seasons UNB has finished in 1st place, this is only the 2nd time St. FX has finished 2nd. They were also the runner-up in 2015-2016. The only other teams to finish 2nd have been Saint Mary's (5 times) and Acadia (4 times).

- In other AUS action tonight, Acadia pulled within two points of 3rd place Saint Mary's with a 3- 0 win over the Huskies in Wolfville and UPEI clinched 5th place after a 6-3 home win over Dalhousie.

- The only playoff positioning left to be determined is the race for 3rd place. With Acadia holding the tie-breaker over Saint Mary's, if they get two points against Moncton tomorrow night they will leapfrog the idle Huskies.

- The regular season concludes tomorrow night with a match-up against the Dalhousie Tigers. Game time is 7PM.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Axemen Snap Losing Streak With OT Win

The Acadia Axemen - mired in their longest losing streak in a decade - tied the game with 12 seconds left in regulation and then won it with a power play goal early into overtime, stunning the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds 4-3 tonight in Wolfville. UNB drops to 22-2-4 on the season and are now tied with St. FX for top spot in the AUS with a showdown between the two looming next Friday night in Fredericton.

- After Kyle Farrell gave the home side a 1-0 lead 5:35 into the game, Randy Gazzola (Bennett, Boland) squared the contest with a power play goal at the 1:31 mark of the 2nd period, skating down the half wall before cutting towards the net and putting the puck just inside the far post.

- Chris Clapperton gave UNB a 2-1 advantage at 6:16 of the 2nd period while shorthanded. Some nice forechecking pressure from Kris Bennett led to a turnover and loose puck near the side of the net and Clapperton was able to get a stick on it to poke it past Robert Steeves. However, Farrell knotted the game with his second of the night 8 minutes later, coming down the slot untouched and getting a pass from behind the net that he put in the top corner.

- Gazzola gave the V-Reds another lead 7:15 into the 3rd period when he jumped up into the rush and was found with a cross-ice pass from Dylan Willick. Gazzola's wrist shot eluded Steeves to give the visitors a 3-2 advantage. It looked like UNB was going to hold on for a big road win but Boston Leier was able to tie the game with the goalie pulled when he found the back of the net at 19:48. An interference penalty off of the ensuing face-off gave the Axemen a power play heading into the overtime.

- The Varsity Reds held the fort for the first minute or so of overtime and even generated a couple of scoring chances of their own while a man down. Bennett was denied on a partial breakaway and then fed Tristan Pomerleau for a nice chance in the slot, but as is so often the case in overtime, a good chance on one end is often followed by one at the other end and that was exactly what happened. The Axemen recovered the rebound and brought it back down the ice. The puck eventually ended up on the stick of Remy Giftopoulos at the lip of the crease and he was able to get the puck up and over a scrambling and out-stretched Alex Dubeau to give Acadia a much needed win.

- Shots in the game were 29-27 for Acadia.

- Peter Trainor and Matt Boudens were back in the line-up while Trey Lewis and Marcus McIvor were out.

- UNB was 1 for 4 on the power play. Acadia was 1 for 5.

- Farrell, Gazzola, and Giftopoulos were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was 1905.

- Face-offs were almost even with UNB holding the slight 35-34 edge. Mark Simpson (13 out of 24) and Alexandre Goulet (11 out of 17) were the best performers.

- After not giving up more than 3 goals in any of their first 16 games of the regular season, the V-Reds have surrendered 4+ goals in 5 out of their last 12 games.

- All three games between these two teams in Wolfville this season went to overtime. The Axemen took the first meeting 3-2 on October 20th with UNB returning the favour on December 2nd with Matt Murphy scoring the winner in a 3-2 victory.

- 9 out of the last 18 regular season games between these two have gone to overtime. UNB is 3-6 in those games.

- This is the first time the V-Reds have lost 4 overtime games in a season since 2003-2004.

- UNB has now been victimized by a power play goal in overtime twice this year. St. FX used one in November 17th’s 3-2 win.

- In other games around the AUS, St. FX rebounded with a solid 5-2 home win over Moncton and Saint Mary's throttled UPEI 9-1 in Halifax.

- The Varsity Reds play their biggest game of the season at the AUC next Friday night when they host the St. FX X-Men. Both teams have their fate in their own hands as they can each clinch first place with a regulation win. Game time is 7PM.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Road Win Vaults V-Reds Into First

Moments after the Dalhousie Tigers put the finishing touches on a shocking 7-3 win over the U Sports #1 ranked St. FX X-Men, the #2 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds hung on for a wild 5-4 victory over the # 7 Saint Mary's Huskies tonight in Halifax to jump back into first place in the AUS. UNB is now 22-2-3 on the season, one point up on the 21-2-4 X-Men with each team having 3 games remaining.

Much like their meeting a few weeks ago at the AUC, it looked like UNB would put the game to bed early. They controlled play from the get-go and were finally rewarded with a pair of breakaway goals only 22 seconds apart late in the period. At 14:38 Tyler Boland (Bennett, Brace) got the puck at the Huskies blue line and took advantage of a defenceman who fell down to break in all alone on goaltender Eric Brassard, going backhand to forehand to slide the puck between Brassard's legs for his 6th goal of the year. Then at 15:00 Chris Clapperton (LeBlanc, McIvor) took a long stretch pass as he split the defence and went left to right to backhand the puck just inside the post to make it 2-0. However, the Huskies got back into it at 17:46 thanks to some good work in the offensive zone. After a battle in the corner Jake Coughler gloved the puck down and fed Calder Brooks in the slot for a quick snap shot that beat Alex Dubeau. UNB would take a 2-1 lead into the intermission after out-shooting Saint Mary's 11-5 in the period.

The Varsity Reds were able to restore their two goal lead early in the 2nd period while on the power play. UNB held the zone as the Huskies were looking to clear and the puck eventually found its way to Clapperton (Bennett, Anderson) all alone at the side of the net for the easy tap-in to make it 3-1 at 1:36. The Huskies then exploded for three goals in the next 7 minutes to take the lead. At 4:20 Thomas Stavert ripped a wrist shot from the slot to get Saint Mary's back within one. Just over two minutes later Alex Peters, while shorthanded, cleared the puck off the boards that took a favourable bounce into the neutral zone. Stephen Johnson tracked down the loose puck and got in behind the defence, beating Dubeau off the rush to tie the game. The Huskies would take their only lead of the night at 8:39 when Hunter Garlent was on the receiving end of a cross-ice pass down low that the superstar forward put in short side. Despite losing their lead, the V-Reds were able to quickly recover and tie the game just 1:21 later. Clapperton (Anderson, Suellentrop) came off the boards with the puck in the high slot and shot back against the grain, putting the puck off the post and in to complete the hat-trick. After the five goal flurry in the first half of the period there was no more scoring over the latter half as the two teams would remain tied 4-4 after forty minutes. Shots in the period were 19-12 for SMU.

After a wild first two periods, the 3rd period was a bit more tame. The V-Reds out-shot the Huskies 7-6 in the frame and Mark Simpson's unassisted goal - a harmless looking shot from the top of the face-off circle that deflected and skipped past Brassard at 9:42 - stood up as the game winner.

- Chris Caissy replaced Matt Boudens in the line-up. Peter Trainor was also out.

- Shots were 30 apiece.

- UNB was 1 for 6 on the power play. SMU was 1 for 5.

- The V-Reds won 47 out of 92 face-offs with Boland (12 out of 22) and Willick (11 out of 19) having the best night's in the dot.

- Attendance was 578.

- Simpson's goal broke a streak of 14 straight goals scored by the top-6 forwards. The last goal that wasn't scored by Clapperton/Goulet/Anderson/Boland/Brace/Bennett was a 3rd period tally by Olivier LeBlanc in UNB's 6-0 win over Acadia on January 20th.

- UNB improves to 9-10-3 at the Halifax Forum against SMU since 2010-2011.

- As previously mentioned, the Dalhousie Tigers defeated St. FX 7-3 in Antigonish for their 5th straight win. On the other end of  the spectrum, the Acadia Axemen dropped their 5th in a row with a 6-3 loss at the hands of the UPEI Panthers in Wolfville.

- The Varsity Reds hope to add to Acadia's recent struggles tonight when they travel down the highway to face the Axemen. Game time is 7PM and it can be seen at www.AUStv.ca.