Thursday, March 15, 2018

V-Reds Demolish Stingers

The hallmark for the #1 seeded University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds all season has been their ability to get contributions from up and down the line-up. That was on full display tonight in their opening game of the 2018 University Cup, receiving goals from seven different players in a 8-1 dismantling of the #8 seeded Concordia Stingers. The win sets up a semi-final showdown versus rival St. FX at 12PM on Saturday.

After a fairly even opening handful of minutes, the Varsity Reds opened the scoring at the 9:00 mark of the 1st period when Chris Clapperton (Simpson, Murphy) jammed the puck in from the side of the net. Mark Simpson doubled the lead 2:46 later after he stripped the puck from a Stingers defenceman as he attempted to exit his own zone. Simpson turned back, took a few strides, and beat Marc-Antoine Turcotte with a shot just inside the far post. As the period wore on the V-Reds started to exert their dominance and were rewarded with another marker with 30 seconds remaining in the opening frame after Rnady Gazzola (Simpson, Bennett) let a loose a seeing-eye shot from the point that a eluded a screened Turcotte. UNB took the 3-0 lead into the intermission and held a 15-7 advantage in shots on goal.

The Varsity Reds were even more impressive in the 2nd period - out-shooting the Stingers 18-3 - but Turcotte stood on his head, answering every puck thrown his way to keep the deficit within somewhat striking distance after 40 minutes.

The 3rd period is when the wheels fell off for the Stingers. Due to an injury he suffered in the previous period, Turcotte was replaced by back-up Antoine Dagenais and it seemed the Varsity Reds smelled blood in the water. To make matters worse, Dagenais' teammates didn't offer him much help when they took three penalties in a span of 1:13 early in the period. UNB connected not on one, not on two, but on all three opportunities to blow the game wide open. At 3:48 U Sports Rookie of the Year Kris Bennett (Boland, Gazzola) picked up a loose puck between Dagenais’ legs and knifed it in while on a 5-on-3 advantage. Then, after another Stingers penalty gave UNB a second two man advantage, Stephen Anderson (Clapperton, Bennett) flipped the puck up and in from in tight at 4:50. Matt Boudens (Goulet, Brace) capped the power play outburst 39 seconds later after driving the net and backhanding the puck in to make it a 6-0 game. The Stinger spoiled Alex Dubeau's shutout bid just 15 seconds later when newly-crowned U Sports Player of the Year Alexandre Beauregard deflected a shot from the slot that beat Dubeau just under the crossbar. Goals from Alexandre Goulet (Caissy, Brace) - on a tap-in at 11:42 after Cameron Brace found him with a nice pass from behind the net - and Stephen Anderson - unassisted at 17:42 after stealing the puck from a defenceman and beating Dagenais with a deke on a breakaway - put the finishing touches on an impressive victory. Shots in the period were 19-7 for UNB.

- Peter Trainor and Oliver Cooper were both scratched.

- Shots in the game ended up 52-17.

- UNB's special teams picked right up from where they left off in the AUS Final. They went 3 for 7 on the power play and killed off all 7 of the Stingers chances.

- The Varsity Reds won 48 out of the 78 face-offs. Mark Simpson (16 out of 26), Dylan Willick (11 out of 18), and Alexandre Goulet (8 out of 13) all had strong nights at the dot.

- Simpson was an absolute beast tonight and was rewarded by being named the player of the game. Massimo Carozza picked up an assist on Beauregard's goal and took home the honour for the Stingers.

- Every member of the V-Reds registered a shot on goal.

- Attendance was a sell-out of 3374.

- The winner of the 50/50 took home over $3800.

- Beauregard’s goal snapped Alex Dubeau’s shutout streak at 129:19, dating back to Matt Needham’s 2nd period goal in game 1 of the AUS Final.
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- UNB has outscored their opponents 29-8 thus far in 6 postseason games.

- The 8 goals scored are tied for the most by UNB in a University Cup game. They also did it 2013 against UQTR (8-3). The 7 goal margin of victory is their best ever.

- This is UNB's 7th consecutive University Cup victory since losing in the 2015 final to Alberta.

- Since losing 3-2 to Western at the 2012 University Cup, the Varsity Reds have steamrolled OUA opponents at the tournament. They have now reeled off 6 straight wins and have outscored the opposition 37-10.

- This is the 15th consecutive time UNB has won their opening game at the University Cup.

- The Varsity Reds will now have a day off before they renew their rivalry with the #5 St. FX X-Men in the semi-finals on Saturday at 12PM in what is sure to be a heated contest. The game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet 360.

- Tomorrow's action includes the #2 Alberta Golden Bears facing the #7 Acadia Axemen at 1PM and perhaps the most intriguing match-up, the #3 McGill Redmen tangling with the #6 Saskatchewan Huskies at 7PM. The two winners will face off in the other semi-final on Saturday, scheduled for 4PM.