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.