Sunday, October 21, 2018

Murphy Sends Reds Into 1st

For the second straight night the University of New Brunswick Reds came out on the right side of a tightly contested game against a tough opponent. Defenceman Matt Murphy scored 30 seconds into overtime to give the visiting Reds a 3-2 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies, which moves them to 6-0-0 on the season and into sole possession of 1st place with a game in hand. The Huskies are now 5-1-1.

The pace was great from the beginning in this one as both teams went back and forth with minimal whistles in the opening minutes. The Reds dented the scoreboard first at 15:28 while on the power play. Cameron Brace fed Joe Gatenby at the point and his ensuing shot was deflected in front by Mark Rassell for his 3rd goal of the season. That would prove to be the only goal of the period as UNB out-shot Saint Mary's 11-7.

The Reds carried the momentum over into the 2nd period and started to slowly take over the play, but this was halted abruptly at 13:18 when Bronson Beaton threw a nice saucer pass from the half boards to Hunter Garlent at the far side of the net. The always dangerous Garlent didn't miss, re-directing the pass into the corner for a power play goal to tie the game. UNB got the goal back less than four minutes later with yet another power play goal. With the teams skating 4-on-4, Kris Bennett forced a turnover at the Huskies blue line and fed it to Matthew Boucher at the top of the face-off circle, who whipped a wicked one-timer into the top left corner just seconds after the Reds penalty expired. Boucher's first career AUS goal gave UNB a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Shots in the period were 13-5 for UNB.

The Reds got the lone power play of the 3rd period in the opening five minutes, but were unsuccessful in extending their lead. The Huskies then pushed hard for the tying goal and, after being held off the scoreboard for most of the period, finally broke through at 16:01. After an offensive zone face-off win, Huskies good-looking rookie defenceman (and AUS leading scorer) Nick Welsh got the puck, made a nice to-drag to get around a defender, and beat Alex Dubeau with a wrist shot. The two teams played out the final four minutes without any more scoring and headed to overtime. Shots in the period heavily favoured SMU 16-6.

It didn't take long for the game to be decided in the extra session. Each team only had one shot on goal but UNB made theirs count. After a face-off win in their own zone Matt Murphy found Mark Simpson with a pass as the centre was skating through the neutral zone. Simpson gained the Huskies zone before dropping the puck back to Murphy, who proceeded to skate in and beat Eric Brassard between the legs with a shot from the hash marks to give the Reds a big two points.

- Alexandre Goulet replaced Patrick Watling in the line-up. Once again, Randy Gazzola and James McEwan were out.

- Shots in the game were 31-29 for UNB.

- Alex Dubeau improved to 3-0-0 on the season with a 1.93 GAA and 0.924 save percentage.

- It was a strong weekend overall for the goaltending as Dubeau and Rylan Parenteau combined for 0.949 save percentage in the two games.

- UNB was 2 for 5 on the power play. Saint Mary's, who entered the game with a power play that operated at over 41%, went 1 for 6.

- Attendance was 450.

- Matt Murphy was named the player of the game after scoring his second career OT goal. He also provided the game winning goal in a 3-2 win in Acadia last December 2nd.

- For the first time in three years UNB swept a road weekend against Acadia and Saint Mary's. They had dropped at least one of the games in each of the last five weekends playing those two.

- UNB is now 5-3-2 in their last 10 regular season games on the road against SMU. They have out-scored the Huskies 34-33 in those games.

- This is the first time since the 2013/2014 season UNB has started 6-0-0.

- The 4-0-0 University of Ottawa Gee Gees are the only other unbeaten team in the country.

- This is already UNB's 7th one goal game of the season (out of 11 total games). They are 6-1-0 in those games so far. By comparison, they didn't play their 7th one goal game of the season last year until their 21st game of the season.

- More evidence of this season being tighter than ever? A night after all three games were decided by one goal, St. FX defeated Dalhousie 2-1 in Antigonish and UPEI needed an empty net goal to salt away a 5-3 road win over Acadia.

- UNB is back at the AUC next weekend for rematches against this weekend's opponents. They face Acadia on Friday night and Saint Mary's on Saturday night. Puck drop for both games is 7PM.