Friday, January 25, 2019

Hicks' Big Night Goes For Naught

Dalhousie Tigers goaltender Connor Hicks was bombarded with shots all night from the visiting University of New Brunswick Reds, but his 60 saves weren't quite enough in a 4-0 loss tonight in Halifax. With the win UNB moves to 21-1-3 and have clinched 1st place in the conference. The Tigers, on the other hand, have now dropped six in a row and are slowly fading out of the playoff picture.

The Reds were relentless to begin the game, hemming the Tigers into their own end for long stretches during the opening ten minutes. However, it wasn't until their 25th shot of the period with 3 seconds left that they finally beat Hicks. With the clock winding down defenceman Matt Murphy (Boucher, Simpson) knew he couldn't get caught out of position so he pinched in from the blue line and jumped on a loose puck just outside the crease to give UNB a well-deserved 1-0 lead. The Reds out-shot the Tigers 25-5 in a dominating opening twenty minutes.

Incredibly, it wouldn't be until their 53rd shot of the night that UNB would strike again. At 6:15 of the 3rd period Chris Clapperton fired a stretch pass from his own end that found Tyler Boland behind the Tigers defense. Boland went in on a breakaway and made a nice move to go left to right before sliding the puck around Hick's left pad, getting the puck across the goal line moments before he crashed into the net and knocked it off its pegs. The Reds made it 3-0 at 16:35 when Mark Rassell's drive to the net was denied, but Alexandre Goulet was right there to pot the rebound. Cameron Brace also picked up an assist on the insurance tally. Boland (Clapperton, Bennett) then rounded out the scoring with a pretty power play marker at 18:28. After finding Clapperton with a cross-ice pass, the favour was returned and Boland one-timed the puck into the top corner, sending the water bottle flying. The Tigers had a chance to break the goose egg with a late power play opportunity but came up empty to make the final 4-0.

- UNB was once again without Samuel Dove-McFalls, Tristan Pomerleau, and Patrick Watling.

- Shots in the 2nd period were 24-11 and were 15-5 in the 3rd period for a game total of 64-21. Unlike their visit two weeks ago, when it seemed the shot total was a bit generous, this total appeared to be pretty accurate.

- Although he went long stretches without seeing much action - especially early in the game - Rylan Parenteau needed to be sharp given how long the game remained close. He was and earned his third shutout of the season, including his second versus the Tigers. This was a much needed bounce back game for Parenteau as he had surrendered seven goals on 38 shots over his last two games.

- Dalhousie was 0 for 4 on the power play. UNB connected once on three tries.

- Boland, Murphy, and Hicks were named the game's three stars.

- Although Mark Simpson won 15 out his 24 face-offs, the Tigers held a 41-40 edge overall.

- Attendance was 123.

- In their four games against Dalhousie this season, UNB has put up shot totals of 59, 54, 65, and 64.

- In other AUS action tonight Saint Mary's defeated Acadia 2-1 in overtime in Wolfville. The single point earned by the Axemen gives them a five point advantage over Dalhousie for the 6th and final playoff spot with five games remaining for each squad. In Antigonish, the St. FX X-Men moved into sole possession of 3rd place with a 5-1 victory over the UPEI Panthers. They are one point clear of the idle Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus.

- The Reds are back at it tomorrow night when they travel to Antigonish to face the X-Men. Game time is 7PM and you can catch it at www.AUStv.ca.