Saturday, September 15, 2018

Reds Open With OT Win

There has been something about 5-4 overtime games at the AUC lately. After ending the University Cup in March with a pair, the University of New Brunswick Reds opened their exhibition schedule with another, with this one being a victory over the visiting McGill Redmen thanks to a Kris Bennett goal late in the extra frame.

The first 60 minutes were what you would expect from two teams playing their first game of the season as it featured sloppy and choppy play at times and defensive breakdowns, but it was also quite entertaining. UNB struck for a pair of quick goals in the latter part of the first period with Cameron Brace (Watling, Cooper) at 12:45 and Alexandre Goulet (Dove-McFalls, Bennett) at 13:16 lighting the lamp. The home side would take a 2-0 into the dressing room after a period in which the shots were 6 apiece.

The 2nd period was probably the best of the night from the Redmen. They out-shot UNB 12-7, had sustained stretches of offensive zone pressure, and scored the only goal as Keanu Yamamoto finished off a 2-on-1 rush at 7:33.

The 3rd period would prove to be the wildest of the night as there were a combined 5 goals scored. Patrick Watling (Brace, Bennett) restored the two goal lead at 2:07 only to have Michael Cramarossa get it back a mere 8 seconds later. Tyler Boland (Anderson, LeBlanc) then made it 4-2 just 1:32 after that. However, McGill battled back with Nikolas Brouillard netting goals at 7:03 and 16:33, the latter being a batted puck out of mid-air, to tie the game 4-4. The Reds couldn't do anything with a late power play and the game would head to overtime. Shots in the period were 16-10 for UNB.

The two teams played a five minute, 3-on-3 overtime period and it featured plenty of good chances from each side, none better than this one that Rylan Parenteau made an absolute larcenous save on:

The Reds made that save of the year candidate even more meaningful when, just moments later, Kris Bennett (Watling, LeBlanc) got the puck at the lip of the crease and made a nifty forehand to backhand move to beat goaltender Louis Guindon for the game winning goal with 1:03 left in the extra session. Each team had one shot each in the period.

- Shots in the game were 30-29 for UNB.

- Forwards Mark Simpson, Mark Rassell, and Matthew Boucher and goaltender Alex Dubeau were scratched. Luke Lee-Knight served as Rylan Parenteau's back-up. Interestingly, Peter Trainor was not listed on the roster sheet so it appears that he is no longer with the team.

- Both teams were scoreless on the power play. McGill had five opportunities while UNB had seven.

- Kris Bennett and Stephen Anderson each had a penalty shot in the game but were both denied.

- UNB held a slight 34-32 advantage on face-offs. Tyler Boland had the best night with 13 wins against 8 losses.

- Bennett was named the player of the game. Watling and Brouillard were the 2nd and 3rd stars respectively.

- Cameron Brace had a game-high 5 shots on goal.

- Given that it was a 28 degree Friday evening during the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, the announced attendance of 1651 was pretty decent.

- The jersey numbers for the new recruits are as follows: Patrick Watling (#9), Samuel Dove-McFalls (#15), Joe Gatenby (#37), Noah Carroll (#40), James McEwan (#71), Mark Rassell (#72), and Matthew Boucher (#86).

- This is UNB's 9th consecutive win versus McGill. It is the first time overtime was needed.

- The win also extends one of our favourite and most impressive streaks. UNB has now won 25 straight games - and are on a 56-1-1 run over the last 17 seasons - against OUA teams.

- The Reds will look to make it two in a row against the Redmen tomorrow afternoon. Puck drop is set for 3PM.