Friday, March 15, 2019

Dubeau Prevails In Goaltender Duel

The #2 seeded University of New Brunswick Reds were given all they could handle in their University Cup quarter-final this afternoon, but they managed to come away with a tight 2-1 win over the #7 seeded Carleton Ravens in a game where the two goalies stole the show. With the win UNB moves on to face the winner of tonight's Queen's/St. FX match-up tomorrow night at 9PM on Sportsnet.

It was a choppy beginning with the game featuring a number of whistles in the opening minutes. The Reds were able to open the scoring 7:15 into the contest when Chris Clapperton fired a pass from just inside the blue line to Stephen Anderson at the far face-off circle. Anderson then sent the puck back against the grain to Tyler Boland in front of the net, who was able to re-direct it in as he was skating through the top of the crease. That would be the only puck to cross the line in the period as UNB out-shot the Ravens by a 10-8 count.

The game really opened up in the second period with each team generating a number of scoring opportunities. After a good start to the period by UNB, it was Carleton getting the equalizer at 4:32. Alex Dubeau - who was ridiculous in this one - made an incredible save off Matthew Forchuk at the side of the net, but the Ravens forward followed up on his own rebound and made no mistake on his second chance, lifting the puck over Dubeau's out-stretched left leg to tie the game 1-1. The tie was short-lived, however. Just under two minutes later Matt Murphy found Alexandre Goulet with a pass to spring a short 3-on-1 near the hash marks. Goulet used Oliver Cooper as a decoy before hitting Matt Boudens with a cross-slot pass that the 5th year forward went down on one knee to one-time into the top right corner for a 2-1 lead. The Ravens regrouped quickly and got a 3-on-1 of their own shortly after the goal, but Dubeau held his ground with a couple big stops during a scramble at the side of his net. The Reds would take the 2-1 lead - and their first power play of the game - into intermission after out-shooting Carleton 18-6 in the frame.

After coming up empty on their power play that carried over into the third period, UNB had another chance to extend their lead when Carleton took a pair of penalties 58 seconds apart in the opening minutes and then another at 11:13. Goaltender Francois Brassard and the rest of his Ravens teammates stood tall though, killing off four consecutive penalties to keep the game within striking distance. A Carleton man advantage at 14:43 was effectively wiped out by the Reds which set the stage for a tense ending. With 2:39 remaining a harmless Ravens shot towards the net hit a UNB defender's skate and re-directed towards the goal, but an alert Dubeau was able to reach back and pull the puck off the goal-line to preserve the 2-1 lead. Carleton then had a couple of face-offs in the Reds zone with the goalie pulled, but with only a handful of seconds on the clock UNB was able to work the puck into the corner and kill the rest of the clock, allowing their fans to exhale after a tighter-than-expected victory. Shots in the period were 10-9 for the Reds.

- UNB had Chris Clapperton, Matthew Boucher, and Tristan Pomerleau all back in the line-up today after they all missed the last game of the AUS Final. Noah Carroll, Patrick Watling, and James McEwan were the scratches.

- Shots in the game were 38-23 for the Reds.

- Both teams came up empty on their power play chances - UNB in four tries, Carleton in three.

- The two goalies - Brassard and Dubeau - were appropriately named their team's player of the game.

- From all accounts the ice surface at the ENMAX Centre has not been the greatest so far, which no doubts hurts a team like UNB that relies on speed, skill, and pushing the pace. 

- Matt Boudens and Randy Gazzola both played in their 13th career University Cup game, which is now the most in UNB history.

- UNB improves to 4-0 all-time versus the Ravens, although this is the first match-up between the two that wasn't an exhibition game at the Aitken Centre.

- They don't play there often, but the Reds seem to enjoy western hospitality. They are now 7-0 out west under Gardiner MacDougall. They went 3-0 at the 2013 University Cup in Saskatchewan and also swept a three game road-trip to Alberta and Calgary in the fall of 2010.

- UNB has won their opening game at all 16 University Cup tournaments they have played in.

- However, this was their biggest scare since defeating Calgary by the same 2-1 score in 2011. In their last six tournament openers before today they had out-scored the opposition 33-7.

- The final quarter-final goes tonight at 10PM AST when the OUA Champion and #3 seeded Queen's Gaels take on the AUS runner-up and #6 seeded St. FX X-Men.

- The Reds will obviously be watching that game with great interest as the winner will be their opponent in tomorrow nights semi-final game, which goes at 9PM AST and will be broadcast live on Sportsnet 360.