Sunday, March 17, 2019

UNB In The University Cup Final

The #2 seeded University of New Brunswick Reds will be looking to win their 8th University Cup in school history this evening when they face the defending champion and top seeded Alberta Golden Bears at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge. Game time is scheduled for 9PM and will be broadcast live nationally on Sportsnet 360.

Overall, UNB will be making their 13th appearance in the National Championship game, including their 9th in the last 13 years. It will be the 10th appearance since Gardiner MacDougall took the helm in 2000/2001.

Here is a breakdown of their previous 12 appearances:

1997: Lost to Guelph 4-3
1998: Defeated Acadia 6-3
2000: Lost to Alberta 5-2 in OT2
2004: Lost to St. FX 3-2 in OT
2007: Defeated Moncton 3-2 in OT
2008: Lost to Alberta 3-2
2009: Defeated Western Ontario 4-2
2011: Defeated McGill 4-0
2013: Defeated Saint Mary's 2-0
2015: Lost to Alberta 6-3
2016: Defeated St. FX 3-1
2017: Defeated Saskatchewan 5-3

A few notes of interest:

- UNB's 13 title games will tie Toronto for the second most all-time. Alberta will be appearing in their 22nd.

- UNB has seven University Cup championships, only behind Alberta (16) and Toronto (10).

- Both teams have 5 losses, which is one behind Saskatchewan for the most all-time.

- The Reds and Golden Bears have accounted for the last six University Cup titles with UNB winning in 2013, 2016, and 2017 and Alberta taking the crown in 2014, 2015, and 2018.

- 14 out of the last 15 gold medal games has involved either UNB or Alberta. The only one that didn't during that span? McGill's overtime win over Western at the AUC in 2012.

- The last six title games have featured only four different teams - UNB, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and St. FX. The last team besides those four to make it to the final was Saint Mary's in 2013.

- This is UNB's 4th University Cup appearance out west and they have made the final each time. The previous three were all held in Saskatoon and the Reds came away with a gold (1998), silver (1999), and gold (2013).

- Matt Boudens and Randy Gazzola will join Cam Braes, Josh Hepditch, and Lachlan MacIntosh as the only Reds players all-time to play in four gold medal games. Senior Cameron Brace was injured for the 2017 tournament so this will only be his 3rd championship game appearance.

- This is the second time UNB has played four title games in a five year span. They also accomplished the feat from 2007-2011.

- This is the 4th time UNB and Alberta have played in the championship game. The Golden Bears have won all three previous encounters - 5-4 in overtime in Saskatoon in 2000, 3-2 in Moncton 2008, and 6-3 in Halifax in 2015. The Reds also dropped a bronze medal game to Alberta in Fredericton in 2003.

- Interestingly, UNB has beaten Alberta in each of their four "non-medal" University Cup games - 4-3 in overtime in Toronto in 1997, 5-2 in Saskatoon in 1998, 6-5 in an epic overtime game in Fredericton in 2004, and 6-3 in Thunder Bay in 2009.

- This proves to be a fitting match-up as UNB was the #1 ranked team for the first 13 polls of the season before conceding the top spot to the Golden Bears for the last six polls.

- Since the University Cup expanded to the six - and then eight - team format, this will only be the 4th instance of the top two teams playing each other. The other three occurred in 2008 (#1 UNB vs. #2 Alberta), 2011 (#1 UNB vs. #2 McGill), and 2015 (#1 Alberta vs. #2 UNB).