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.