Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Aigles Bleus Rally Falls Short

The #2 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds raced out to a 4-0 2nd period lead, but needed an empty net goal to seal their 22nd victory of the season - a 5-3 nail biter against the Moncton Aigles Bleus tonight in the 'Hub City'. UNB, having already clinched first place, improves to 22-2-3 on the season while Moncton (13-10-4) misses out an a chance to tie or pass St. FX for third place.

The Reds got on the board first late in the opening period. Noah Carroll threw a point shot into a crowd in front of the net that Oliver Cooper found and deposited behind Etienne Montpetit. Matt Boudens was awarded the secondary assist on the only goal of the period, which came at 18:46. UNB out-shot Moncton 17-9 in the period.

The 2nd period was a wild one with each team trading three goal bursts. At 9:06 Tyler Boland slid a short pass to Chris Clapperton as he slipped out of the corner. Clapperton drove to the net and beat Montpetit with a backhand to make it 2-0. Just 67 seconds later - at 10:13 - a Mark Simpson (Rassell, Anderson) wrist shot from the slot hit Montpetit up high and the puck bounced up and over the Aigles Bleus goaltender and into the net. It appeared the rout was on 2:15 later when Matt Boudens (Gatenby, LeBlanc) put the puck into the top corner off of a shorthanded rush to push the lead to 4-0. However, Moncton would respond, and in a big way, with goals by Vincent Deslauriers at 13:35, Alexandre Bernier at 16:40, and Danick Crete at 19:57. The first and third goals came just moments after UNB had finished killing off a penalty. After everything was said and done, the Reds exited the period how they begun it - with a one goal lead. Shots in the period were 12-10.

Entering the 3rd period nursing a one goal lead, UNB didn't give Moncton much breathing room in the final twenty minutes. They held a 14-2 shot advantage, but needed a Boudens (Clapperton) empty net goal with 81 seconds remaining to finally exhale.

- UNB went with the same line-up as Friday night with Alexandre Goulet, Samuel Dove-McFalls, and Tristan Pomerleau all still out.

- Shots on goal in the game were 43-21 for the Reds.

- Alex Dubeau got the start in goal and earned his 12th win of the season.

- Moncton went 0 for 5 on the power play. UNB came up empty on their only chance.

- For the first time this season UNB has failed to score a power play goal in consecutive games and they only have one in their last four games, although they have only had nine total opportunities in that span.

- The Reds have had fewer power play chances than their opponent in each of the last seven games. In that time UNB has had 22 opportunities to their opponents 38.

- Matt Boudens (2 goals, 1 assist) was named the player of the game.

- UNB had a rare rough night in the face-off circle, winning only 28 out of 61 draws. Oliver Cooper was the only player to win more than 50% of his attempts, going 1-0.

- Attendance was 605.

- The game was played in a relatively brisk 2 hours and 8 minutes.

- UNB finishes the road portion of their season schedule with a 12-2-1 record.

- The Reds won the season series against the Aigles Bleus 4-0-1, the 12th consecutive year they have done so. The venue certainly played a big role in the outcomes this year with UNB winning 5-1 and 10-0 at the AUC while each game in Moncton was tight (5-4 win on a last second goal, 4-3 shootout loss, and tonight's 5-3 win).

- The Alberta Golden Bears - on a blistering 16-0-1 run - overtook UNB in the latest top ten rankings, which were released yesterday. The Bears accumulated a total of 282 points (132 media + 150 ELO) to knock the Reds (272 points from 137 media + 135 ELO) out of the top spot for the first time this season. Saint Mary's were the only other AUS team to crack the top ten, moving up a spot to 4th.

- There was one other game in the conference tonight and it ultimately decided the 6th and final playoff team as the Acadia Axemen defeated Dalhousie 5-2 in Wolfville to officially eliminate the Tigers from playoff contention. The Axemen are locked into the 6th spot and will play the 3rd seed in the best 2-of-3 quarterfinals.

- UNB now finishes the season with three straight home games. That will begin on Saturday night when they welcome the UPEI Panthers to the AUC for a 7PM puck drop.