Sunday, January 13, 2019

X-Men Hand Reds First Loss

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds fell behind early and were never able to recover as they were downed 4-2 by the St. FX X-Men tonight in Antigonish. It was the first regulation loss of the season for the 18-1-3 Reds. The X-Men are now 11-8-2 and remain tied for 3rd place with the UPEI Panthers.

The X-Men used a familiar recipe to defeat the Reds, one we have witnessed a number of times in recent years.

- Score the first goal of the game and force UNB to play catch-up? Check. Matthew Graham scored just 1:17 into the game and Holden Cook doubled the lead four minutes later.

- Quickly answer a UNB goal? Check. A Kris Bennett (Gazzola, LeBlanc) power play goal at 9:01 of the 2nd period got the Reds on the board and made it 3-1, but Bryson Cianfrone snuffed out any potential momentum and restored the X-Men's three goal advantage 4:06 later.

- Get out-shot? Check. After out-shooting the Reds 10-9 in the 1st period the X-Men were out-shot 12-5 in the 2nd period and 8-1 in the 3rd period. Shots were 29-16 for UNB in the game.

- Win the special teams battle? Check. The X-Men connected three times in five opportunities against a Reds penalty kill that had only surrendered eight power play goals all year entering the game. Meanwhile, UNB went 1 for 6 with the man advantage, coming up empty on all four of their chances in the 3rd period (including what turned into a 6-on-3 advantage in the final minutes) as they tried to get back into the game.

- Win the goaltending battle in decisive fashion? Check. Chase Marchand shook off a couple of recent subpar outings against UNB and looked every bit like the reigning AUS MVP, stopping 27 out of the first 28 shots sent his way before Matthew Boucher (Brace, Gazzola) got one by him with only 21 seconds left in the game. At the other end of the ice Rylan Parenteau stopped only 12 out of 16 shots as he suffered his first career regulation loss (18-1-1).

- UNB will now look to rebound on Wednesday night when they host the Moncton Aigles Bleus in the 27th annual Mark Jeffrey Memorial Game. Game time is 7PM.