Monday, February 25, 2019

Reds Sweep Aside Panthers, Clinch UCup Berth

With a chance to sweep their best 3-of-5 semi-final series, the University of New Brunswick Reds went into Charlottetown this evening and silenced the hometown UPEI Panthers, skating to a 5-0 victory that not only advances them to the AUS Final, but guarantees them a spot at next months University Cup in Letthbridge.

The Reds dominated the opening half of the 1st period, firing the first ten shots of the game at Panthers goalie Matthew Mancina. However, like he has been all series, Mancina was up to the task. UNB finally broke through at 9:41 when Randy Gazzola's point shot deflected off Oliver Cooper and right to Alexandre Goulet at the side of the net. Goulet faked a shot and then out-waited Mancina to get him to down before sliding to the left and putting the puck in an empty net. This would prove to be the only goal in the period as UNB out-shot a Panthers squad 13-4.

To begin the 2nd period the Panthers replaced Mancina with Simon Hofley in a move that we can only assume was due to an injury. UPEI had a great chance to tie the game early in the frame when they had a two man advantage for 1:27, but Alex Dubeau - who was outstanding in his own right throughout the series - and the penalty killers held the fort to maintain the 1-0 lead. At the other end of the ice, Hofley was sharp in the first 16 career postseason minutes. However, an unfortunate bounce and then some terrible luck in a span of two and a half minutes late in the period essentially put the game out of reach. At 16:37 Kris Bennett (Boucher, LeBlanc) was in the right place at the right time when the puck hit a stanchion behind the Panthers net and bounced to him at the side of the net. He quickly deposited it past a surprised Hofley to make it 2-0. Just over two minutes later Samuel Dove-McFalls was hauled down just as he got the puck to Mark Rassell for a breakaway. With a penalty coming to the Panthers, Rassell was hooked on the breakaway, leading to a penalty shot. The freshman forward made no mistake during the one-on-one showdown with the goaltender, going right to left to get Hofley to open his pads before sliding the puck five-hole to make it 3-0 at 18:39. The Reds then went on the power play stemming from the original penalty and they quickly converted on that as well after a beautiful passing play that saw Bennett (Boland, Simpson) have an easy tap-in from the top of the crease for his second goal in a matter of minutes. The power play marker, which came only 29 seconds after Rassell's, was UNB's first of the series and pushed the lead to 4-0. Shots in the period were 15-7 for the Reds.

With the game well in hand, the 3rd period featured a couple of scrums as well as the final goal of the contest. Midway through the period the Panthers were on their second lengthy 5-on-3 of the game when they took a pair of penalties in front of the Reds net. After a brief 3-on-3, UNB went on a 5-on-3 of their own and they made the Panthers pay with the nail in the coffin. Chris Clapperton fed Gazzola with a cross-ice pass and the defenceman quickly worked it down to Boland at the far side of the net. Boland skated across the top of the crease and flipped the puck past a desperate Hofley to give UNB a 5-0 lead, which is how this one would end. The two teams accounted for eight shots apiece in the period.

- Patrick Watling, James McEwan, and Noah Carroll were once again the three scratches.

- Shots in the game were 36-19 for UNB.

- The Reds went 2 for 9 on the power play. UPEI was 0 for 6.

- For all the praise Mancina is getting for his performance in net this series - and rightfully so - Alex Dubeau posted some ridiculous numbers of his own. In the three games the Reds goaltender surrendered only two goals on 66 shots over 186 minutes of play. That equates to a respectable 0.970 save percentage and 0.64 goals against average. This is Dubeau's 3rd playoff shutout in eight career starts.

- UNB had their best game of the series in terms of face-offs, winning 51 out of 83 draws. Samuel Dove McFalls (13/23), Mark Simpson (12/19), and Tyler Boland (12/16) were the biggest contributors.

- Bennett was named the player of the game.

- Attendance was 807.

- After another goal tonight, Mark Rassell is quickly turning himself into a Panthers-killer. He scored in every game of the series and has lit the lamp in six straight games against UPEI. He has torched the Panthers for nine goals and two assists in those games. 

- UNB have won their last three playoff road games by a combined score of 16-2. In their only two playoff games away from the AUC last season they beat Saint Mary's 6-2 and St. FX 5-0.

- In the other semi-final series, a depleted St. FX line-up gutted out a 3-1 home win over Saint Mary's to keep their season alive. The Huskies lead in the series is cut to 2 games to 1 with game 4 scheduled for Wednesday night in Antigonish.

- As mentioned, tonight's win means the Reds have earned a place at the University Cup. They are the 4th team to clinch their spot following the host Lethbridge Pronghorns and the two Canada West finalists - the Alberta Golden Bears and the Saskatchewan Huskies - who swept Calgary and Mount Royal respectively this past weekend. In Ontario, the OUA West Final features the Guelph Gryphons and Western Mustangs and the East Final will pit the Carleton Ravens versus the Queen's Gaels. The two winners will clinch their berth while the losers will play a consolation game for the conference's 3rd spot in Lethbridge. Of course, the winner of SMU/St. FX also gets a ticket.

- The Reds will now have some time to rest while they wait to see who they play in the final. We will have more once that series concludes and the schedule for the best 2-of-3 final is released.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Simpson Lifts Reds To 2-0 Lead

Mark Simpson's tipped in a Randy Gazzola point shot 6:17 into overtime, sending the Aitken Centre into a frenzy and giving the University of New Brunswick Reds a hard-fought 2-1 win over the visiting UPEI Panthers. UNB now take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the best 3-of-5 semi-final as the series shifts to Charlottetown.

The Panthers got off to quick start in this one as Kameron Kielly banged the fourth shot in quick succession past Alex Dubeau on a goal-mouth scramble just 51 seconds into the contest. It was the second goal of the series for the Panthers leading scorer. This was answered just over five minutes later when a good fore-checking shift led to Mark Rassell (Boudens, Goulet) lifting the puck under the crossbar from the lip of the crease to tie the game. This would prove to be the last goal of regulation, despite each team being awarded a number of power plays and UNB out-shooting UPEI 42-19 over the 60 minutes. 

The Reds were given a golden opportunity to end the game when Austin Levi took a slashing penalty at 19:16 of the 3rd period, but their power play was out of sorts for most of the night and they failed to capitalize even as the man advantage extended into the extra session. However, UNB made sure the missed chances didn't come back to bite them as Gazzola put what looked like a harmless looking wrist shot from the blue line towards the net. Simpson, standing in front of the net, deflected the puck just enough to get it to squeeze through Matthew Mancina's pads, giving the Reds the overtime victory. Kris Bennett picked up the secondary assist on the game-winning goal.

- UNB went with the same line-up as last night with Patrick Watling, James McEwan, and Noah Carroll sitting out.

- Shots were 47-22 for the Reds with period totals of 16-7, 13-8, 13-4, and 5-3.

- Both teams went 0 for 5 on the power play.

- UNB won 49 out of 90 face-offs. Samuel Dove-McFalls (17 out of 29) and Simpson (14 out of 23) did the majority of the damage. 

- Alex Dubeau made 21 saves to improve to 7-0 in his AUS playoff career.

- Gazzola, who was originally given credit for the winning goal, was named UNB's player of the game. For a second consecutive night Mancina took the honour for the Panthers. 

- In our series preview we said the Panthers goaltending would have to be lights out for them to have a chance. Matthew Mancina has been pretty close and has certainly deserved a better fate than an 0-2 record, stopping 98 out of the 102 shots UNB has fired at him through two games. Dating back to the Moncton series, he has turned aside 127 out of 131 shots in his last three games.

- Attendance was 2565.

- UNB have won the first two games despite the top line of Chris Clapperton, Tyler Boland, and Cameron Brace being held off the score-sheet. This is the first time all year Clapperton has been held scoreless in two straight games while Boland had been shutout in back to back games only once previously (October 19th and 20th).

- Tonight’s win ensures there will be at least one more hockey game at the Aitken Centre this season - either game 5 of this series or game 1 of the AUS Final.

- This is only the Reds second playoff overtime game in the last five years. Simpson also scored the winner in the last one, a 3-2 win over Saint Mary's in game 1 of the semi-finals last year. 

- There was no other games in the conference tonight. Saint Mary's and St. FX resume their series tomorrow night in Halifax with the Huskies looking to go up 2-0.

- This series now shifts to Charlottetown for game 3 on Monday and, if necessary, game 4 on Tuesday. Game time is 7PM. As usual, if you can't make it to the island you can watch the games at www.AUStv.ca.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Reds Open Playoffs With Win

The AUS regular season champion University of New Brunswick Reds got their playoff push started on the right foot, emerging with a 3-1 victory over a game UPEI Panthers squad tonight at the Aitken Centre. UNB take a 1-0 lead in the best 3-of-5 semi-final with game 2 slated for tomorrow night.

The two teams skated through a scoreless, penalty-free 1st period that saw UNB out-shoot UPEI 15-8, forcing Panthers goaltender Matthew Mancina to make some big saves.

The Reds finally broke through 2:34 into the 2nd period when a loose puck in front of the Panthers net came to Mark Rassell (Anderson, Murphy), who was waiting at the side of the cage to knock it in. The lead didn't last long, however, as Kameron Kielly rifled a shot into the top left corner on UPEI's only power play of the game at 4:49. UNB was able to re-gain the lead before the end of the period, thanks to a great hustle play by Matthew Boucher. With the puck loose behind the Panthers net, Boucher outraced a defender to retrieve it and got it out front to Kris Bennett, who made a deke in close before lifting the puck over Mancina. The goal gave UNB a 2-1 lead that they would take into the final twenty minutes. The Reds dominated the period, peppering Mancina with a season-high 25 shots on goal to the Panthers five in the period.

The 3rd period was UPEI's best of the night, coming close to tying the game a couple different times in the opening minutes on goal-mouth scrambles. Alex Dubeau held the fort though and UNB would add some much-needed insurance at the 8:37 mark on another goal from the "dirty" areas. Olivier LeBlanc let loose an off-balance wrist shot from the blue-line in an attempt to just get the puck on net and that prompted chaos in front of Mancina. Bennett had the first opportunity before Boucher was able to locate the puck through the crowd, snapping it five hole to push the lead to 3-1. The Reds did a good job shutting things down from there to close out the win. The Panthers pulled Mancina with just under two minute remaining, but a scrum with 35 seconds left resulted in a UPEI penalty, which all but sealed it. Shots in the period were 15-13 for UNB.

- Alexandre Goulet and Samuel Dove-McFalls were both back in the line-up after lengthy absences. Patrick Watling, James McEwan, and Noah Carroll were scratched.

- Shots in the game were 55-25 for UNB.

- The refs had the whistles put away for the most part. The Panthers went 1 for 1 on the power play with UNB coming up empty on two chances.

- UNB won 39 out of 75 face-offs with Mark Simpson (13 out of 24) and Dove-McFalls (10 out of 16) leading the charge.

- Boucher and Mancina were named the player of the game for their respective teams.

- Attendance was 2194 as the city was still digging out from its latest snowstorm.

- Although the Reds have won all four meetings with UPEI at the AUC this season, this was the 3rd time the game was within at least one goal heading into the 3rd period.

- UNB has now won six straight playoff games dating back to last season.

- In Halifax, Saint Mary's got a 23 save shut-out from Eric Brassard in a 3-0 win over St. FX to go up 1-0 in the other semi-final. Game 2 of that series will be played on Saturday night.

- UNB and UPEI are back at it tomorrow night for game 2. Game time is 7PM.



Clapperton Named MVP, Other Reds Honoured

The AUS announced its 2018-2019 men's hockey major award winners and all-star teams this afternoon, and a number of Reds received recognition.

Forward Christopher Clapperton was named the AUS MVP after leading the conference with 47 points, 33 assists, 5 game-winning goals and 125 shots on goal. He was 2nd in +/- with a +27 rating. He also earned a first-team all-star nod for the first time in his career.

Clapperton is the first Red player to be named MVP since Philippe Maillet two years ago. He will now be the AUS nominee for the Joseph A. Sullivan trophy as the country's top player, an award Maillet also won in 2015-2016.  

Defenceman Randy Gazzola repeated as winner of the Godfrey Award, which takes into account a player's leadership both on and off the ice as well as his conduct throughout the season. Gazzola becomes the first player in conference history to win it in back to back years. He will now become the AUS nominee for the Dr. Randy Gregg Award, an honour Kyle Bailey took home in 2011-2012. 

Joining Clapperton on the first team all-star squad is defenceman Matt Murphy, who led all d-men with seven goals and a +27 rating. 

Two Reds were also named second team all-stars with Tyler Boland (19 goals, 38 points, league-leading +28) and defenceman Olivier LeBlanc (25 points, +23) both being recognized for their excellent seasons. 

Finally, forwards Mark Rassell (13 goals, 29 points) and Matthew Boucher (13 goals, 28 points) were each named to the all-rookie team after ranking tied for 2nd and 4th, respectively, in the conference in freshman scoring. UNB has now placed at least one player on the all-rookie team every seasons since the team was introduced after the 2006-2007 season. 

Here are the complete winners: 

Most Valuable Player (Kelly Trophy): F Chris Clapperton (UNB)
Rookie Of The Year (A.J. MacAdam Trophy): G Etienne Montpetit (Moncton)
Most Sportsmanlike Player (Don Wells Trophy): F Adam Stevens (St. FX)
Student-Athlete Community Service Award (The Godfrey Award): D Randy Gazzola (UNB)
Coach Of The Year (Bob Boucher Trophy): Judes Vallee (Moncton)

First Team All-Stars
G - Etienne Montpetit (Moncton)
D - Nicholas Welsh (Saint Mary's)
D - Matt Murphy (UNB)
F - Chris Clapperton (UNB)
F - Hunter Garlent (Saint Mary's)
F - Maxime St-Cyr (Moncton)

Second Team All-Stars
G - Eric Brassard (Saint Mary's)
D - Olivier LeBlanc (UNB)
D - Alexander Peters (Saint Mary's)
F - Tyler Boland (UNB)
F - Kameron Kielly (UPEI)
F - Mark Tremaine (St. FX)

All-Rookie Team
G - Etienne Monpetit (Moncton)
D - Nicholas Welsh (Saint Mary's)
D - Garrett McFadden (Acadia)
F - Matthew Boucher (UNB)
F - Mark Rassell (UNB)
F - Dawson Theede (Saint Mary's)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

UNB vs. UPEI: Preview, Prediction, Poll

The #2 nationally ranked University of New Brunswick Reds (25-2-3) open their AUS title defense on Thursday night when they host the UPEI Panthers (15-12-3, 2-0 in playoffs) in game 1 of their best 3-of-5 AUS semi-final series. Game 2 is scheduled for Friday night at the AUC before the series shifts to Charlottetown for game 3 and, if necessary, game 4 next week. All games are set for a 7PM puck drop.

This marks the 5th time the Reds and Panthers have met in a playoff series since Gardiner MacDougall became head coach. The Reds have dominated the previous four series, only dropping a single game while out-scoring UPEI 57-24 in 12 games.

2002 Quarter-Finals - UNB won 2 games to 0 (4-2, 7-4)
2012 Semi-Finals - UNB won 3 games to 0 (4-3, 5-1, 3-2 OT)
2013 Semi-Finals - UNB won 3 games to 1 (7-2, 2-4, 7-2, 5-1)
2016 Semi-Finals - UNB won 3 games to 0 (4-1, 5-2, 4-0)

UNB also had their way with the Panthers this regular season as they won all five match-ups with a 33-13 goal differential, running their regular season record to 28-3 versus UPEI over the previous seven seasons. After emerging with a tight 4-3 decision in the home opener, UNB rhymed off wins of 6-3 in Charlottetown on October 13th, 7-1 at home on November 3rd in a game that was cut short due to a power outage, 9-4 on the island on January 18th, and 7-2 at the AUC on February 2nd.

The Panthers strength is definitely their ability to put the puck in the net. They finished 3rd in the league in goals scored with 101 - including a league-high 13 against UNB - and 4th in both power play goals (29) and power play percentage (19.1%). They are led offensively by one of the most dangerous players in the conference in Kameron Kielly, who followed a stellar 42 point rookie season by finishing 3rd in the conference with 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists) this year. He had three of those goals and seven of those points against UNB. Kielly does not represent their only threat though as they had three other players crack double digits in goals scored. This included former Boston Bruins 5th round draft pick Cody Payne (t-14th in AUS with 13 goals, 15 assists), Gabe Guertler (t-17th with 11 goals, 16 assists), and Swede Filip Rydstrom (t-21st with 12 goals, 12 assists in 24 games). Rookie Owen Headrick provides offense from the back-end, contributing 22 points, which ranked 3rd among all AUS defencemen. The Panthers key offensive players will need to step up and take advantage of any chance they get. They will have their work cut out for them as UNB led the league in goals against average (1.97), shots allowed (22.0/game), and penalty killing (89.7%).

If scoring is their strength, the Panthers weakness the last few years has been their inability to keep the puck out of their own net. After allowing 136 goals last season (2nd most in the league) they worked to improve on that number in the offseason by bringing in former CHL defencemen Headrick, Doug Blaisdell, and Andrew Pico. They also brought in former Canisius College (NCAA) goaltender Simon Hofley. The additions helped - slightly - as the Panthers improved to 123 goals allowed, but they did slip to last in the league in this category. They also ranked last in save percentage (0.878) and second to last in penalty killing (74.6%), which might spell trouble against a Reds team that led the league in goals scored (5.00/game), shooting percentage (11.6%), shots on goal (43.2), and were 2nd in power play percentage (25.3%).

However, having said this, the Panthers showed how good they can be when they play sound defense and get good goaltending, as they did in their first round series sweep versus Moncton. Although Hofley got the majority of the starts in net during the regular season (23 out of 30), the Panthers turned to back-up Matthew Mancina for the playoffs and he responded by leading them to a 3-2 overtime win in game 1 before pitching a 29 save shutout in Moncton to eliminate the Aigles Bleus. Although neither had much success this season against the Reds, Hofley (17 goals allowed on 136 shots in 189 minutes) was significantly better than Mancina (16 goals allowed on 73 shots in 100 minutes) so it will be interesting to see what direction the Panthers coaching staff goes in. No matter who gets the start, though, they will almost certainly need to be lights out for the Panthers to have a chance in this series.

Overall, it isn't an understatement to say it would be a massive upset if the Panthers were to emerge victorious in this series as every key statistic heavily favours the Reds. Not to mention UNB has home-ice advantage - where they have beaten UPEI 16 straight times, are well rested, and that a best 3-of-5 series is less likely to produce an upset than a best 2-of-3 would. I expect the Panthers to try and make the series as physical as possible in an attempt to slow down and wear down the smaller, quicker Reds and it would not be overly shocking to see UPEI grab one game - especially on the island - but I can't see them doing much more damage than that.

PREDICTION: UNB in 4, punching their ticket to the University Cup next month in Lethbridge.

POLL: Your turn, who do you got?

UNB or UPEI
UNB in 3
UNB in 4
UNB in 5
UPEI

Monday, February 18, 2019

2018-2019: By The Numbers (Player Edition)

After looking at team stats, facts, and figures yesterday, today we turn our attention to the individual performances that stood out during the 2018-2019 regular season.

- Chris Clapperton led the AUS and finished 2nd in the country in scoring with 47 points (14 goals, 33 assists). Only Ryerson's Matt Mistele (50 points) had more.
- He joins Philippe Maillet (2014-2015, 2016-2017), Hunter Tremblay (2010-2011, 2009-2010), and Rob Hennigar (2007-2008) as recent UNB players to capture the conference scoring title.
- Clapperton's 33 assists were tied with Saint Mary's Hunter Garlent for most in the country.
- Clapperton now has 141 career points and 118 career regular season points, ranking 15th (tie) and 18th (tie) in UNB history.
- UNB had three other players that ranked in the top-6 scorers in the conference and top-20 in the country. Joining Clapperton were Tyler Boland (4th in the AUS and 11th in U Sports with 38 points), Kris Bennett (5th in the AUS and 15th in U Sports with 35 points), and Stephen Anderson (6th in the AUS and 19th in U Sports with 33 points).
- Tyler Boland's 19 goals this season ranked 2nd in the AUS and 7th in the country.
- Mark Rassell (13 goals, 16 assists) and Saint Mary's defenceman Nick Welsh tied for 2nd in the AUS and 3rd in U Sports in rookie scoring. Only Carleton's Jacob Smith (35 points) and Moncton's Maxime St-Cyr (32 points) had more.
- Fellow freshman Matthew Boucher wasn't far behind, posting 28 points this season.
- UNB had 8 players pot at least 10 goals this season - Boland (19), Bennett (15), Clapperton (14), Rassell (13), Boucher (13), Anderson (12), Cameron Brace (10), and Mark Simpson (10). The UPEI Panthers were the next highest with 4 players reaching the double digit mark.
- The Reds also had 10 players hit 20 points on the season with defencemen Olivier LeBlanc (25) and Randy Gazzola (20) joining the 8 players above. Saint Mary's was the next closest with 6 players hitting the 20 point plateau.
- Bennett's 33 goals are the most by a Reds player in his first two seasons since Ryan Walsh also had 33 in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.
- LeBlanc (1 goal, 24 assists) trailed only Welsh (29 points) in scoring among all AUS blue-liners. His 24 assists led all defencemen and were 4th best in the conference overall.
- UNB had 4 of the top-9 scoring defencemen in the league. Joining LeBlanc (2nd) and Gazzola (5th) were Joe Gatenby and Matt Murphy (tied for 8th with 18 points apiece).
- Murphy's 7 goals were only behind the Huskies Dylan DiPerna (8) for most in the conference among defencemen.
- As is usually the case, the Reds dominated the league's +/- leaderboard. Boland led the league with a +28 rating and he was followed by 9 of his teammates. Overall UNB held the top 10, 13 out of the top 14, and 15 out of the top 19 spots.
- Samuel Dove-McFalls, who only played 19 games due to injury, was the only player not to finish with at least a +2 rating as he was even on the season.
- Defencemen Tristan Pomerleau (22 games) and Noah Carroll (19 games) were the only two players not to score a regular season goal this year.
- Clapperton, Brace, and Gazzola all notched their 100th regular season point this year. Stephen Anderson currently sits at 98.
- Clapperton (47 points), Boland (38), Anderson (33), LeBlanc (25), Simpson (22), Matt Boudens (18), Murphy (18), and Alexandre Goulet (14) all set career-highs in points.
- Bennett tied for the league-lead with 8 power play goals. Rassell and Boucher, with 6 apiece, also placed in the top-10.
- Boucher was 2nd in the AUS with two shorthanded goals.
- Murphy was 1 of 3 players to notch two empty net goals this year.
- Bennett and Clapperton tied for the conference lead with 5 game-winning goals each.
- Clapperton took a conference-high 125 shots on goal this year. Boucher (t-4th with 114), Boland (9th with 97), and Bennett (10th with 96) all found themselves in the top-10.
- Boudens led the league with 101 penalty minutes, which is tied for the 6th highest season total in UNB history. Clapperton (t-19th with 58 PIM) was the only other Reds players in the top-25.
- At the other end of the spectrum, Rassell and Andersn only had 6 and 8 PIM, respectively, while playing all 30 regular season games.
- Boudens now has a total of 357 career PIM, ranking 2nd in school history. His 309 career regular season PIM puts him 3rd all-time.
- UNB had a league-high 9 players - Clapperton, Boland, Bennett, Anderson, Gatenby, Rassell, LeBlanc, Simpson, and Oliver Cooper - play all 30 regular season games.
- After suiting up for 28 games this season, Matt Boudens now ranks 6th in school history with 135 career regular season games played. His 170 career games played is tied for 6th most with Chris Culligan.
- Rylan Parenteau (1.89) and Aleax Dubeau (1.97) both set career-bests in goals against average. They also ranked 1-2 in the AUS with those marks.
- Dubeau's 0.918 save percentage ranked 2nd in the league, behind only Moncton's Etienne Montpetit (0.923).
- Dubeau was 2nd in the league with 14 wins. Parenteau ranked 4th with 11.
- Parenteau led the league with 3 shutouts.

(Special thanks to www.vredshockey.com for help with career statistics and ranks)

Semi-Final Schedule Released

The AUS has announced the schedule for the upcoming best 3-of-5 semi-final series' between the UNB Reds/UPEI Panthers and Saint Mary's Huskies/St. FX X-Men.

They are as follows:

(1) UNB Reds vs. (4) UPEI Panthers

Game 1: Thursday, February 21st at UNB
Game 2: Friday, February 22nd at UNB
Game 3: Monday, February 25th at UPEI
Game 4: Tuesday, February 26th at UPEI (if necessary)
Game 5: Thursday, February 28th at UNB (if necessary)

(2) Saint Mary's Huskies vs. (3) St. FX X-Men

Game 1: Thursday, February 21st at SMU
Game 2: Saturday, February 23rd at SMU
Game 3: Monday, February 25th at St. FX
Game 4: Wednesday, February 27th at St. FX (if necessary)
Game 5: Friday, March 1st at SMU (if necessary)

In a rare good move, it appears the conference has staggered the two schedules as much as possible to avoid games overlapping. Most years the two series will follow a very similar schedule, but this year only two days (February 21st and February 25th) will feature both series.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Semi-Finals Set

The St. FX X-Men scored three unanswered goals and got 41 saves from Chase Marchand to defeat the Acadia Axemen 4-1 in game 3 of their best 2-of-3 quarterfinal series tonight in Antigonish. This sets up the following best 3-of-5 semi-final match-ups:

(1) UNB Reds vs. (4) UPEI Panthers
(2) Saint Mary's Huskies vs. (3) St. FX X-Men

The full schedule has yet to be released, but we do know UNB will host games 1 and 2 of their series against the Panthers on Thursday, February 21st and Friday, February 22nd. 

UNB won all five regular season match-ups versus UPEI this season, out-scoring the Panthers 33-13 in those games. 

The X-Men/Huskies season series was a bit more evenly matched with all five games decided by one goal, including two in overtime. Saint Mary's went 3-2-0 in the head-to-head match-ups while St. FX was 2-1-2.

The winners of each series will be the two AUS representatives at the University Cup in Lethbridge, Alberta next month. 

2018-2019: By The Numbers

While we wait for the Reds semi-final opponent to be determined, here is a look at some interesting stats and facts about the 2018-2019 regular season.

- The Reds went 25-2-3 on the season, marking the 12th straight season they have won 20+ games. They have also finished atop the AUS standings in each of those dozen years.
- They tied the Saskatchewan Huskies for most wins in the country this season. The Huskies (25-3-0) had a slightly better points percentage (0.893 vs. 0.883). The only other teams to crack the 20 win barrier this season were the Alberta Golden Bears (24-3-1), Ottawa Gee-Gees (22-4-2), and Ryerson Rams (20-5-3).
- Over the last 13 seasons UNB has compiled a staggering 301-44-25 regular season record, which equates to a 0.847 points percentage. By comparison, the next best AUS team over that stretch is Saint Mary's with a 228-116-26 record.
- UNB won the conference by 14 points. This barely edged the 2009-2010 squad (13 points) for their largest margin ever.
- UNB went 13-0-2 at home. They are 79-3-5 in regular season games at the AUC in the last six years.
- Their 12-2-1 road record is the best since 2013-2014 (12-2-0).
- The Reds were undefeated in the first half of their schedule (13-0-2) for the second consecutive year and for only the 3rd time ever (15-0-0 in 2009-2010).
- UNB scored 150 goals this season, leading the conference for a 10th straight year. They also topped the country. It was their most in a season since potting 167 in 1997-1998.
- Their 5.00 goals scored per game was the highest in the AUS since the 2006-2007 Moncton Aigles Bleus scored 5.07 per contest.
- They led the AUS in goals against average (1.97) for a 5th straight year and 11th time in 12 years. Only Saskatchewan, at 1.75, was better nationwide this season.
- The Reds accumulated a goal differential of +91, their highest since a +99 mark in 1997-1998. Alberta at +79 was the next closest team this year.
- Since the beginning of the 2006-2007 season, UNB has a +831 goal differential. Saint Mary's is the next closest AUS team at +367.
- UNB out-scored teams 84-23 at home this season.
- Their offense got better as the season went on, notching 71 goals in their first 15 games and 79 in their last 15.
- They also got better as the game went along. They outscored teams 42-19 in the 1st period this year, 50-22 in the 2nd period, and 57-15 in the 3rd period.
- However, their 1-3 overtime record was their worst in the last 13 years. In fact, after only posting one losing overtime record in 11 years, they have now done it in back to back seasons (2-4 last year).
- The Reds averaged 43.2 shots per game, the highest in the AUS (for a 5th straight season) and their most in the last 13 years, topping the 39.5 shots per game the 2008-2009 team averaged.
- They led the conference in fewest shots allowed per game (22.0) for a 12th straight year.
- Despite the volume of shots they generated, they also made them count as they led the conference in shooting percentage (11.6%) for the 3rd time in 4 years.
- The Reds had another strong year in the face-off circle, winning 55.8% of their draws. This is their 4th highest mark in the last 10 seasons and just a tick below last year's 55.9%.
- UNB led the conference with 37 power play goals. This is their second highest total in past 9 years (51 in 2016-2017).
- After finishing 3rd or lower in the AUS in power play percentage in 7 out of the last 8 seasons, the Reds clicked at 25.3% this year, behind only Saint Mary's.
- For the 4th time in 5 years, UNB surrendered only one shorthanded goal.
- The Reds gave up a league-low 16 power play goals, leading to a conference-best 89.7% penalty kill. This is the fewest power play goals they have given up and their highest percentage since 2010-2011, when they were at 14 and 90.5%, respectively.
- In one of the oddest statistical quirks with this program, despite their recent dominance and puck possession numbers, they have been in the top half of the league in the number of times they have been shorthanded in each of the last 8 seasons. This trend continued this year as they were shorthanded 155 times, 2nd most in the conference.
- However, their 155 times shorthanded only equated to 563 penalty minutes, 3rd fewest in the conference.
- In fact, their 18.8 penalty minutes per game this year was their lowest in the last 10 seasons.
- UNB scored 5 shorthanded goals this season, 2nd most in the AUS. They have scored at least 4 shorthanded goals in each of the previous 13 seasons.
- With 5 shorthanded goal scored and only 16 power plays goals allowed, the Reds only had a -11 goal differential when the opponent had a power play. This was their best performance since putting up ridiculous -5 (2010-2011) and -4 (2009-2010) marks in back to back seasons.
- For a 4th straight season - and 5th time in 6 years - UNB did not give up an empty net goal. The only one they have given up in that span was on January 24th, 2015 in a 4-1 loss at Acadia.
- Alex Dubeau and Rylan Parenteau combined for a 0.912 save percentage this season, which ranked 2nd in the league. This is UNB's 2nd best showing in the last 8 years, only behind the 0.914 they posted in 2015-2016.
- Dubeau and Parenteau combined for a league-leading 4 shutouts, the 12th time in 13 years UNB paced the conference in that category.
- Once again, UNB led the country in attendance with an average of 2450 fans per game. This places only behind last year (2585) for the highest in the last 6 seasons.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Tigers Push Reds In Finale

Despite entering the game 36 points behind the conference-leading University of New Brunswick Reds, the last place Dalhousie Tigers gave UNB all they could handle tonight at the AUC in the final game of the regular season. The Reds needed a last minute goal and an empty netter to escape with a hard-fought 4-2 victory, which gives them a final record of 25-2-3 on the season.

The visitors scored the only goal of the opening period even though they were out-shot 18-10. At 4:23 Jonathan Cyr got a couple of whacks at the puck at the side of the net before finally getting it past goaltender Rylan Parenteau. The 1st period shutout broke a streak of ten consecutive periods in which the Reds had scored.

The two teams traded power play goals in the middle frame. Connor Welsh made it 2-0 for the Tigers when he beat Parenteau cleanly with a shot from the high slot at 16:01, but Matthew Boucher (Rassell, Brace) answered 80 seconds later when he got the last touch on a scramble in front of the net. Shots in the period were 11-4 for UNB.

The Reds hit the post twice in the opening minutes of the 3rd period. These were sandwiched around an Oliver Cooper (Murphy, Boucher) goal at the 2:00 minute mark. Cooper's attempted wrap-around was stopped, but he stayed with the play and deposited his own rebound past Connor Hicks. Each team then got a power play opportunity in the latter half of the period. The Tigers came up empty on a Tyler Boland penalty at 13:47 and then UNB had their chance at 17:52 after Campbell Pickard got called for hooking. Kris Bennett (Clapperton, Simpson) made Dalhousie pay as he pulled the puck off the end boards after a missed shot and beat Hicks in a race to the side of the net, stuffing the puck in before the goaltender could come across to give the Reds their first lead of the game at 18:47. Matt Murphy (Anderson, Simpson) sealed the victory with a spinning shot from deep in his own end that found the empty net 30 seconds later. The goal was UNB's 150th - and final - goal of the regular season. The Reds out-shot the Tigers 22-9 in the period.

- UNB went with the same line-up as last night as Noah Carroll, Samuel Dove-McFalls, and Alexandre Goulet were all scratched.

- Shots in the game were 51-23 for the Reds. This was actually the fewest shots UNB had in a game against the Tigers this season. They had 293 shots on goal - or 58.6 per game - in winning all five games against Dalhousie this year.

- UNB went 2 for 7 on the power play. The Tigers were 1 for 5.

- The Reds dominated the face-offs in the game, winning 50 out of 78. Mark Simpson was once again the star, taking 19 out of his 29 chances.

- Rylan Parenteau picked up his 11th win of the season in net to go along with a conference-best 1.89 GAA.

- Tyler Boland picked up more penalty minutes tonight (16) than he did in the first 29 games of the season (14).

- Matthew Boucher was named the player of the game. The two goalies - Parenteau and Hicks - were the other two stars.

- The Reds starting line-up consisted of their graduating players - 5th year forwards Matt Boudens and Cameron Brace, 4th year forward Chris Clapperton, 5th year defenceman Randy Gazzola, and 4th year defenceman Marcus McIvor.

- Attendance was 3374 on Northside Elementary School night and Home Depot night.

- Saint Mary's forward Hunter Garlent made a valiant attempt at the scoring title with four points tonight, but Chris Clapperton held on, finishing with 47 points to Garlent's 45. UPEI's Kameron Kielly was the only other player to crack the 40 point plateau with 43.

- UNB run their winning streak versus the Tigers to 31 games. Although they swept the season series, every game with the exception of the first one (a 7-0 win) was close entering the 3rd period.

- This is the 2nd time in three years UNB has finished the season with a 25-2-3 season. They are now 97-9-12 over the past four regular seasons.

- The Reds ended the season with a 13-0-2 record at home. They are 55-1-3 in home regular season games in the last four seasons.

- Elsewhere around the conference tonight, the UPEI Panthers defeated St. FX 4-1 at home in a game that was 2-1 with 10 minutes remaining. In Halifax, the Saint Mary's Huskies beat the Moncton Aigles Bleus 7-3.

- The final standings look like this:

UNB - 25-2-3 = 53 points
SMU - 19-10-1 = 39
SFX - 15-12-3 = 33
UPEI - 15-2-3 = 33 
UdeM - 14-12-4 = 32
ACA - 10-17-3 = 23
DAL - 7-22-1 = 15 

NOTE - St. FX finishes ahead of UPEI based on head-to-head results (3 wins to 2).

- The AUS playoffs begin this week with the best 2-of-3 quarter-final round featuring #4 UPEI vs. #5 UdeM and, in a series we are sure the AUS is thrilled with, #3 St. FX vs. #6 Acadia.

- The Reds - along with Saint Mary's - get a first round bye and will face the lowest remaining seed in a best 3-of-5 semi-final. The series will begin with games 1 and 2 at the AUC on Thursday, February 21st and Friday, February 22nd. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Reds Take Care Of Business

The severely understaffed St. FX X-Men played a good opening period but, as expected, couldn't keep up with the deeper, fresher University of New Brunswick Reds, dropping an 8-2 decision on Military Appreciation Night at the AUC in a game that was, understandably, lacking the intensity of a typical match-up between the two rivals. UNB moves to 24-2-3 on the season while the X-Men's 15-11-3 record has them clinging to 3rd place by a point.

It looked like the Reds would take any possibility of drama out of the game early with Kris Bennett (LeBlanc, Clapperton) tipping in a point shot for a power play goal at 5:16 and Stephen Anderson (Rassell, Watling) taking a short pass in the slot and beating Blade Mann-Dixon with a wrist shot 65 seconds later. Playing with only 12 skaters, the X-Men's strategy was very apparent from the get-go as they sat back defensively and hoped to turn either a blocked shot or a turnover into a counter-attack. The latter worked to perfection at 15:48 when Holden Cook took a pass on an odd man rush and picked the top right corner to make it 2-1. UNB quickly snuffed out any potential momentum though, as Cam Brace (Clapperton, LeBlanc) was hit with a pass in stride through the neutral zone, got behind the defense, and sifted a snap shot into the top of the net at 17:50. The Reds would take the 3-1 lead into the intermission after out-shooting their visitors 11-8.

The final forty minutes were all UNB as the X-Men tired. Olivier LeBlanc (Gazzola, Clapperton) got his first goal of the season 1:46 into the 2nd period after some extensive offensive zone pressure to make it 4-1 only to see Cook strike again, this time on a nice back-door play on the power play, at 4:01 to cut the deficit back to two. However, goals by Tyler Boland (Clapperton, Brace) on a short two-on-one that began at the X-Men blue-line at 10:18 and Marcus McIvor (Simpson, Cooper) at 16:30 ensured their would be no miracle on this night. Matthew Boucher, from Bennett and Watling 34 seconds into the 3rd period and Boland (Brace, Gatenby), with his second of the night after some nice passing around the crease, at 5:12 rounded out the scoring. Shots favoured UNB 38-5 over the last two periods - 20-1 in the 2nd and 18-4 in the 3rd.

- Tristan Pomerleau was back in the line-up for the first time since January 5th, replacing Noah Carroll on the back-end. Alexandre Goulet and Samuel Dove-McFalls both remained out.

- Shots in the game were 49-13.

- St. FX went 1 for 3 on the power play. UNB was 1 for 5.

- The Reds won 36 out of 59 face-offs with Mark Simpson leading the way with 14 wins in 20 chances.

- The X-Men blocked 13 shots to UNB's 3.

- Alex Dubeau picked up his 14th win of the season.

- Olivier LeBlanc was named the recipient of the Fallen Soldier Award as the player of the game.

- Of the 12 players dressed for the X-Men, one had yet to play this season (Marcus Cuomo) and one was their team therapist (Giovanni Akeson), who probably never imagined he would be playing in an AUS game. St. FX only had two natural defencemen dressed - Adam Holwell and Daniel Robertson.

- Chase Marchand replaced Mann-Dixon twice in the 3rd period, both times briefly. He stopped all six shots her faced in 2:39 of action.

- UNB wore their new 'Dark Camo' jerseys for Military Appreciation Night.

- Attendance was 3236.

- With four assists tonight Christopher Clapperton now leads UPEI's Kameron Kielly and Saint Mary’s Hunter Garlent by five points in the scoring race with one game remaining for all three.

- LeBlanc had 24 assists this season before getting off the schneid with his 2nd period tally.

- With the win UNB takes the season series versus the X-Men three games to two. It is the 10th straight year they have won the season series against St. FX, compiling a 34-6-3 regular season record in that span.

- In other AUS action tonight the UPEI Panthers defeated Dalhousie 5-2 in Charlottetown and Moncton got a late goal to slip past Acadia 2-1 in Wolfville.

- Tonight's results mean there is still lots to be decided tomorrow in terms of the standings. UNB and Saint Mary's have clinched the 1st and 2nd spots and have both earned a first round playoff bye. At the other end of the spectrum Acadia is locked in 6th place and Dalhousie will finish in 7th. However, spots 3-5 are still very much up for grabs. Heading into the final night of the regular season St. FX sits at 33 points, Moncton has 32, and UPEI has 31. The X-Men have the tie-breaker over both teams while the Panthers have the tie-breaker over the Aigles Bleus.

- Tomorrow night Moncton travels to Halifax to face Saint Mary's and UPEI hosts St. FX.

- Meanwhile, the Reds play their final regular season game of the season against the Dalhousie Tigers. It is 'Northside Elementary School Night' and 'Home Depot Night' at the AUC. Game time is 7PM.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Rassell Article

Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News recently talked with former Medicine Hat Tiger forward, and recently-named UNB male athlete of the week, Mark Rassell. Among the topics covered include a milestone for a former teammate, his rookie season with the Reds, and what it would mean to play in the University Cup in his home province.

You can read the full article here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

St. FX/Acadia Suspensions Announced

The AUS has announced the first wave of suspensions stemming from Saturday night's bench brawl between the Acadia Axemen and St. FX X-Men. As expected, they are plentiful with a total of nine X-Men, six Axemen, and both head coaches being assessed a total of 39 games in automatic suspensions. 

The affected participants include the following:

Acadia Axemen

  • Rodney Southam: Subsequent fight - 2 games
  • Owen MacDonald: Leaving the bench during a fight - 2 games
  • Ross MacDougall: Leaving the bench during a fight - 2 games
  • Cole Reginato: Leaving the bench during a fight (2 games) + Subsequent fight (2 games) = 4 games total
  • Loch Morrison - Throwing Stick = 2 games
  • Darren Burns (Head Coach): Game Misconduct (1 game) + first player leaving bench (1 game) = 2 games
St. FX X-Men
  • Regan Spears: Instigating a fight (1 game) + fighting (1 game) = 2 games total
  • Sam Studnicka: Subsequent fight - 2 games
  • William Thompson: Subsequent fight - 2 games
  • Nathan Pancel: Leaving the bench during a fight - 2 games
  • Mark Tremaine: Leaving the bench during a fight - 2 games
  • William Bower: Leaving the bench during a fight - 2 games
  • Bailey Webster: Leaving the bench during a fight - 2 games
  • Cole MacDonald: Leaving the bench during a fight - 2 games
  • Aaron Hoyles: Leaving the bench during a fight (2 games) + 3rd man into a fight (2 games) + second game misconduct in same season (1 game) = 5 games total
  • Brad Peddle (Head Coach): Game Misconduct (1 game) + second game misconduct in same season (1 game) = 2 games total

It should be noted that all of these suspensions are automatic and are in accordance to the AUS rule book and playing regulations. 

Additionally, it was also announced that five student athletes (Southam, O. MacDonald, Tremaine, and Hoyles) as well as three coaches (Burns, Peddle, and Acadia assistant Kris MacDonald) will be subject to an in-depth secondary review process and are subject to supplementary discipline. The AUS hopes to conclude this review within the next month. 

Obviously, this news will have a huge impact on Friday night's UNB/St. FX game as the X-Men will be playing with a very short bench. According to the AUS website they have 22 skaters listed on their roster, but only 20 have suited up (Forward Marcus Cuomo played 16 games in his first two seasons but hasn't dressed yet this season and defenceman Mitchell Wheaton hasn't played in two year due to injuries). Out of the 20 players that have actually played a game for them this season, the following 11 players will be available for Friday:
  • D Adam Holwell
  • D Santino Centorame
  • D Daniel Robertson
  • F Holden Cook
  • F Matt Needham
  • F Adam Stevens
  • F Lane Cormier
  • F Matthew Graham
  • F Bryson Cianfrone
  • F Anthony Difruscia
  • F Adam Laishram
If we assume Cuomo will see his first action of the season, that will mean St. FX will have a maximum of 12 players dressed. Of course, this doesn't take into account players that have been injured recently. Centorame, Graham, and Laishram all missed the Acadia game due to injuries and it is unknown whether any will be back by Friday. Goaltender Chase Marchand - the reigning AUS MVP - has also been banged up and has missed the last handful of games.

It will be interesting to see how St. FX decides to handle this, but however you slice it, they are going to be in tough. 


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

St. FX/Acadia Update

In the aftermath of Saturday night's brawl between the St. FX X-Men and Acadia Axemen in Wolfville - which has since gained national attention with CBC, CTV, TSN, Yahoo! Sports, and Barstool Sports all picking up the story - details are beginning to emerge as to what exactly set off the fireworks, and they aren't pretty.

Here is a statement that was released by X-Men coach Brad Peddle and forward Sam Studnicka last evening that explain the events leading up to the melee:



Shortly after claiming they would not comment on the situation, Acadia put out their own press release in response:
AUS executive director Phil Currie has already stated that "the culture in hockey, 'chirping', as they call it, is commonplace and often players will chirp at each other. Based on what I understand, if this is the case, this is well over the line of what one would call chirping."

We don't want to speculate too much, but if the above allegations from St. FX are proven to be accurate (that this happened - and has been happening for the better part of three years with nothing being done to attempt to stop it), we could see some very severe punishment handed out to Acadia beyond the suspensions that will be assessed strictly because of hockey-related reasons.

Speaking of suspensions, according to the Halifax Chronicle Herald, "judgement day is coming for the Acadia and St. Francis Xavier men's hockey teams" Wednesday when "several automatic suspensions...are expected to be released."

Currie had suggested yesterday that not all of the suspensions may be announced right away, saying "our commissioner is working hard at getting the automatic sanctions done within the next 24 gours or so with a game looming Wednesday, Acadia at Saint Mary's. Others that need more investigations may take a bit longer. There is a lot to unpack with this incident."

We will keep you updated as the number and length of suspensions will not only affect UNB's next game - against St. FX on Friday night - but possibly the playoffs as well.

U Sports Top Ten (#14): Reds Hold Steady

The Alberta Golden Bears retained the top spot in the latest U Sports top ten rankings, released earlier today.

The Bears - now on a 18-0-1 run after a pair of convincing wins on the weekend - earned 137 media points (including nine first place nods) and 150 ELO points for a total of 287. The UNB Reds stay in second spot after also accumulating 137 media points (on the strength of three first place votes), but only 135 ELO points for a total of 272.

The rest of the top ten includes the Saskatchewan Huskies (247), Ottawa Gee-Gees (205), Calgary Dinos (171), Saint Mary's Huskies (116), Brock Badgers (105), Carleton Ravens (104), Ryerson Rams (59), and McGill Redmen (55).

The Queen's Gaels, St. FX X-Men, and Western Mustangs all received honourable mention.

Rassell Earns Athlete Of The Week Nod

Reds forward Mark Rassell has been named the UNB Reds/Papa John's Pizza male athlete of the week after helping the team to a pair of wins last week.

On Wednesday night the freshman forward chipped in an assist in a 5-3 win in Moncton versus the Aigles Bleus. He followed that up with two goals, including the game winner, on Saturday night against the UPEI Panthers at the AUC.

The former 50 goal scorer out of the WHL has enjoyed an outstanding first year with the Reds, posting 14 goals (5th in the league) and 13 assists in 28 games. He has been particularly strong recently with 10 points in his last 6 games. He also had a hat-trick in December's exhibition win over Lethbridge.

His 27 points this season are tied for 2nd - with teammate Matthew Boucher - among all AUS rookies, only behind Moncton's Maxime St-Cyr (31).

Rassell will look to continue his hot streak this weekend as UNB wraps up the regular season with home games against St. FX on Friday and Dalhousie on Saturday.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

St. FX/Acadia Brawl

UPDATE: CBC has also posted an article on the game, which contains some quotes as well as  homemade videos from fans in the stands.

For those of you who have yet to see the festivities that occurred in last night's St. FX and Acadia game in Wolfville, here are a couple of videos courtesy of Victor Findlay. The Axemen had just scored a 3-on-5 shorthanded goal and the ensuing face-off at centre ice is when everything boiled over.

It will be very interesting to see how the AUS decides to handle this situation. The Axemen play again on Wednesday night so we will probably hear about any suspensions relatively quickly. The X-Men's next game is Friday night at the AUC so they will most likely be missing a number of players for that contest.



Saturday, February 2, 2019

Reds Wear Down Panthers

The University of New Brunswick Reds scored six unanswered goals and out-shot the short-staffed UPEI Panthers 38-11 over the final forty minutes to secure a 7-2 victory tonight at the Aitken Centre. The win gives UNB a 23-2-3 record on the season while the visitors drop to 13-12-3 to remain in 4th place.

Mark Rassell (Murphy, Anderson) got the home side off and running just 98 seconds into the contest, getting a short break down the left side and beating Simon Hofley on his second effort. However, the Panthers would take advantage of some UNB penalties to take the lead before the end of the period. At 3:39 - just 15 seconds into a lengthy two man advantage - Cody Payne squeaked a shot through Alex Dubeau to knot the game and then at 19:17 - during the first half of a four minute power play - Kameron Kielly tipped in a shot while driving to the net to stake the visitors to a 2-1 lead. Shots in the period were 11-10 for the Panthers.

Although UNB out-shot UPEI 20-5 in the middle period it was the Panthers who had a couple of quality chances early on to extend their lead, but some big saves and solid defensive plays kept the score 2-1. After the early chances it was pretty much all Reds for the rest of the game. James McEwan (Gazzola, LeBlanc) tied the game at 11:29 when he maintained control of the puck as he spun off of a check and fired a wrist shot through a crowd that found the back of the net. UNB then regained the lead in the final moments of the period. The Panthers tried to tie up a face-off in their own end to bleed the final seconds off the clock, but the puck was dug out by a UNB forward who put it back to LeBlanc. The defenceman quickly swung it over to his partner (Gazzola), who threw a shot towards the net that Rassell deflected in at 19:54 to make it 3-2.

The late goal seemed to ignite UNB as they out-shot the Panther 18-6 and scored four more goals in the final period to turn the game into a rout. As we have witnessed a number of times over the last two seasons, when the Reds score a goal there is a very good chance the floodgates will open and that is exactly what happened again tonight as they connected three times in a span of 4:04. They made it 4-2 at 8:09 thanks to a great effort by Chris Clapperton. The forward fanned on his attempted centering pass from the corner, but he lifted the stick of the defenceman to steal the puck back and didn't miss on his second chance, finding Stephen Anderson at the far post for a one-timer into the top of the net. Just under two minutes later Kris Bennett (Clapperton, Boland) tucked one in from in front while on the power play to push the lead to 5-2. Matthew Boucher (Boudens, Gatenby) completed the onslaught 2:12 later when he emerged from a crowd near the penalty box and got loose for a breakaway, going forehand to backhand to beat Hofley. Tempers began to flare in the latter half of the period with three separate instances resulting in three players on each side (LeBlanc, Carroll, and Boudens for UNB) being given a ten-minute misconduct and an early exit from the game. The departures left UNB with only four defenceman and the Panthers - who were already playing two men short - with only 13 skaters to finish out the game. Once things calmed down Bennett (Simpson, Murphy) capped the scoring with his second of the game at 17:32, taking a drop pass and putting the puck off the post and into the top right corner.

- UNB was still without forwards Alexandre Goulet and Samuel Dove-McFalls and defenceman Tristan Pomerleau.

- Shots were 48-22 for UNB. They also hit a couple of posts.

- The Reds broke through on the power play for the first time in three games, scoring once on seven tries. UPEI was 2 for 6.

- This is only the second time all year UNB has given up more than one power play goal in a game. They surrendered three against St. FX in a 4-2 loss on January 12th. Entering tonight's game they had killed off 24 out of the 25 shorthanded situations they faced since then.

- There were a combined 106 penalty minutes dished out in the game and they were handed out almost evenly - 54 to the Panthers and 52 to the Reds.

- UNB won 45 out 77 face-offs. Simpson (16 out of 27), Watling (10 out of 16), and Boudens (10 out of 13) all had strong nights in the dot.

- The three freshmen forwards - Rassell, Boucher, and McEwan - were named the game's three stars.

- Boucher had a game-high 11 shots on goal.

- This was Stephen Anderson's 100th career regular season game.

- With a pair of points tonight Chris Clapperton moved ahead of Saint Mary's forward Hunter Garlent for the conference scoring lead. Clapperton now has 41 points to Garlent's 40 heading into the final weekend of the regular season. Incredibly, the 4th year forward has been held scoreless only five times in 28 games so far this year.

- Attendance was a solid 2488 on a snowy night in the provincial capital.

- It was "Protectors Night" at the AUC with 1st responders being honoured before the game.

- UNB swept the season series versus the UPEI for the 4th time in 7 seasons. They- outscored the Panthers 33-13 in the five games.

- Just a reminder that this upcoming Monday is the last chance to bid on or buy game used 'Winter Camo'  jerseys.

- There were two other games in the conference tonight. The Dalhousie Tigers shocked Saint Mary's 4-1 and, in a game that people will be talking about for awhile, the Acadia Axemen beat the St. FX X-Men 6-3 in Wolfville in a game that featured a staggering 320 penalty minutes, most of which stemmed from a line/bench brawl at 9:05 of the 3rd period that left the X-Men with only nine skaters to finish the game. I’ve certainly never saw anything like it in my 16 years of watching AUS hockey. If you want to see the fun for yourself, go to the archived game at AUStv.ca and begin watching around the 2 hour and 11 minute mark. By virtue of the X-Men loss, Saint Mary's has clinched 2nd place and a first round bye.

- It's hard to believe but the regular season concludes next weekend with a pair of games at the AUC. On Friday night the St. FX X-Men, who will most likely be missing a number of players due to their actions tonight, are in town for 'Military Appreciation Night' and then the Dalhousie Tigers visit the following night for the season finale. Both games are set for a 7PM puck drop.