Saturday, October 12, 2019

Reds Pick Up Tough Win

For the second straight night the University of New Brunswick Reds found themselves in a tight game into the 3rd period. Once again they emerged victorious, hanging on for a 3-2 victory over the UPEI Panthers in a physical affair tonight in Charlottetown.

The visitors opened the scoring on the power play 7:57 into the game. Mark Rassell's attempted wrap around rolled off the end of his stick, but Tyler Boland was right there to pick up the puck at the opposite side of the net and fire it past Simon Hofley. Brady Gilmour was credited with the other assist on the goal. The Panthers didn't take long to respond. At 10:04 Samuel Harvey kicked a juicy rebound out in to the slot to Darian Pilon, who hammered a one timer into the net to knot the game at one. It was the first goal UNB had surrendered in over seven periods of hockey, going back to the 2nd period last Saturday against Boston College. The game would remain tied as UNB held a slight 10-9 shot advantage in the opening period.

After a fairly uneventful 2nd period in which UNB out-shot the Panthers 15-6 and each team came up empty on a power play opportunity, the game headed to the final frame still deadlocked 1-1.

The Reds would finally break through again 8:58 into the 3rd period. Samuel Dove-McFalls won an offensive zone face-off back to a defenceman, who put a shot off the end boards. The puck bounced hard off the boards and towards the side of the net where Oliver Cooper was camped out. Cooper pounced on the loose puck and jammed it in, giving UNB the lead with his first goal of the season. Although Marcus McIvor was given credit for the primary assist, on the webcast it looked to be Noah Carroll who made the play. At 11:16 the Reds made it a two goal game. Matt Murphy carried the puck down the left side and deep into Panthers territory before sending a sharp angle shot towards the net, where Tyler Boland was able to deflect the puck past Hofley before the goaltender was able to glove it down. However, the breathing room evaporated at 15:22 when Jesse Sutton tipped the puck from just outside the crease and into the far corner late in a Panthers power play to pull the home side back within a goal. UPEI applied all kinds of pressure late in a desperate attempt to tie the score, but Harvey and the Reds held on during a last second scramble in front of the net to preserve the victory. Shots in the period were 9-7 for the Panthers.

- The Reds dressed a full complement of players with Mark Rassell back in the line-up after serving a one game suspension. Mark Simpson remained out with an injury while Tristan Pomerleau left in the 2nd period favouring his right leg and never returned.

- UNB out-shot the Panthers 32-24 overall.

- Each team scored a power play goal with UNB going 1 for 3 and UPEI 1 for 4.

- Face-offs were almost even with UNB holding a slim 35-34 advantage. Boland (10 for 17) and Alexandre Goulet (10 for 18) were the best on the night for the Reds.

- Attendance was 733.

- Boland was named the player of the game. Cooper and Hofley were the game's other two stars.

- UNB has now won nine straight games over the Panthers and are on a 26-1-1 run against UPEI since the beginning of the 2015-2016 season.

- In other conference play tonight Saint Mary's posted a convincing 6-2 road win over Dalhousie and Acadia recovered from allowing two late goals - including the tying one with 8 seconds remaining in regulation - to beat St. FX 5-4 at home on a Stephen Harper penalty shot goal in overtime.

- Next weekend UNB is at home for a pair of games for the first time this season. They host the St. FX X-Men on Friday night and then the Dalhousie Tigers are in town the next night. Game time is 7PM for both match-ups.

Anderson's Goal

In case you missed it, here is Stephen Anderson's beauty from last night:


Friday, October 11, 2019

Watling, Anderson Lead Reds In Opener

The University of New Brunswick Reds celebrated their 2019 University Cup victory one last time by raising their 8th National Championship banner to the Aitken Centre rafters and then went out and won their 31st straight home opener, shutting out the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus 4-0.

Before the game began the 2019-2020 Reds were introduced, along with representatives from each of UNB's previous seven championship teams. The last two members announced were 5th year forward Stephen Anderson, who brought out the AUS trophy, and 5th year defenceman - and team captain - Marcus McIvor, who skated out with the University Cup. After placing the trophies on a table at centre ice that had the AUS and U Sports championship banners draped over it, McIvor helped pull down a black curtain that unveiled the 2019 National Championship banner hanging from the rafters.

Once the ceremony was over it was business as usual. The two teams skated through a scoreless opening twenty minutes, despite UNB out-shooting Moncton 15-3.

The Reds finally broke through early in the 2nd period while shorthanded. Tristan Pomerleau worked the puck up to Tyler Boland, who was joined by Patrick Watling on a two-on-one break. Boland patiently waited for the defender to commit to going down before sending a saucer pass over to Watling, who one-timed the puck past reigning U Sports rookie of the year Etienne Montpetit. It would be the only goal of the period as UNB took a a slim 1-0 lead into the final frame. Shots in the period were 11-3 for the Reds.

UNB got some breathing room in the early parts of the 3rd period, connecting for a pair of goals. At 3:53 Watling got his second of the night on an almost carbon-copy of his first goal, only it was Alexandre Goulet finding him on the two-on-one rush. Matthew Boucher also picked up an assist on the goal. Less than two minutes later it was Stephen Anderson (Watling, Gatenby) picking up a loose puck during a scramble in the slot and snapping it in, extending the lead to 3-0 at 5:32. Anderson added another at 13:26, joining Kris Bennett's goal last weekend against Boston College as an early contender for goal of the year. The PEI product out-muscled three defenders just inside the Aigles Bleus blue-line to go in all alone on Montpetit, turning the netminder inside out with a backhand-to-forehand deke to make it 4-0. The highlight reel goal would prove to be the final one of the night as UNB out-shot Moncton 10-6 in the period.

- The Reds were playing with a short bench tonight. Mark Rassell was serving a one game suspension stemming from an ejection late in last Saturday's game against Acadia. Mark Simpson was not originally listed as a scratch, but didn't play as he continues to nurse an injury.

- Moncton was also playing shorthanded as they only had 16 skaters dressed. Justin Guenette is serving a four game suspension for an incident last weekend against St. FX.

- UNB out-shot Moncton 36-12 on the night.

- Neither team was particularly great on the power play, going scoreless on five opportunities each.

- Rylan Parenteau picked up his 6th career shut-out. His five shut-outs in league play only trail Travis Fullerton (14), Reg Bourcier (7), and Alex Dubeau (6) in UNB history.

- The Reds won 35 out of 59 face-offs. Alexandre Goulet (13 out of 18) and Samuel Dove-McFalls (10 out of 16) led the way.

- Tristan Pomerleau was +4 on the night.

- Kris Bennett is a newly appointed alternate captain this season.

- Attendance was 2766, a solid number considering it was a Friday heading into a long weekend.

- UNB unveiled new white jerseys for the game, featuring black shoulders and black numbers, a red nameplate on the back, and a New Brunswick flag on the left shoulder. They are a definite step up from last season's look.

- Patrick Watling had one goal and three assists in 14 games last year. Playing on the top line alongside Tyler Boland and Stephen Anderson so far this year, the 5th year forward already has two goals and three assists in three games. He was undoubtedly the best player on the ice tonight for either team, creating a number of chances throughout the game.

- The Reds have now won 16 straight home games versus Moncton.

- UNB hasn't dropped a home opener since a 6-5 overtime loss to Saint Mary's on November 5th, 1988.

- In the only other AUS game tonight it was Acadia going on the road and beating Dalhousie 4-1.

- The Reds are back at it tomorrow night with a game in Charlottetown against the UPEI Panthers. Game time is 7PM and it can be viewed at AUStv.ca.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

U Sports Top Ten (#2): Leaders Unchanged

The top four teams stayed put in the latest U Sports men's hockey top ten rankings released earlier today.

The Alberta Golden Bears, fresh off a win over the NCAA #1 ranked Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, remained in the pole position with 1799.88 ELO points. UNB (1786.64), St. FX (1693.88), and Ottawa (1660.21) also held onto their position.

Meanwhile, teams five through ten all saw movement. Carleton (5th) and Calgary (6th) swapped spots. Ryerson (7th) jumped two spots and Saskatchewan re-entered the ranking at #8 despite not playing a game last weekend. Rounding out the top ten were Queen's (down one spot to 9th) and McGill (down three to 10th).

UNB resume their AUS schedule this weekend with their home opener and banner raising ceremony Friday night against Moncton at the AUC. They then head to Charlottetown for a Saturday night tilt against the UPEI Panthers.

Bennett's Filthy Goal

In case you haven't saw it yet, here is Kris Bennett's ridiculous between-the-legs goal against Boston College on Saturday.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Reds Bury Bears

The University of New Brunswick Reds received goals from five different players and Samuel Harvey turned aside everything directed his way in an impressive 5-0 victory over the University of Maine Black Bears this afternoon in Orono.

- UNB got the scoring started 5:36 into the contest when Mark Rassell found Matthew Boucher with a cross-ice pass at the back door for a power play marker. Brady Gilmour received the secondary assist on the goal.

- Black Bears goaltender Stephen Mundinger stood on his head for the first half of the game. He was replaced by 2018 Vancouver draft pick and freshman Matthew Thiessen just past the midway mark of the 2nd period.

- The Reds gave Thiessen a rude welcoming. Moments after coming into the game Alexandre Goulet's attempted pass to a driving Kris Bennett hit a stick of a Maine defender and deflected in to the net. After originally waving the goal off due to the puck being kicked in, the refs went to video review and quickly corrected the call when it was clear it hit a stick instead. The goal came at 10:48 and made it 2-0.

- UNB extended the lead on the power play 36 seconds later with Olivier LeBlanc (Boland, Bennett) unleashing a blast from the point.

- Just over two minutes later the Reds got their prettiest goal of the night. Bennett got the puck to Alexandre Goulet in the slot and Goulet quickly spotted Patrick Watling to his left who had gotten in behind the defence. Goulet found the streaking Watling, who chipped the puck past Thiessen for a 4-0 advantage.

- The Reds lethal power play added another goal 48 seconds into the 3rd period. Tyler Boland (Watling, Bennett) had time and space at the left face-off circle and beat Thiessen clean with a wrist shot on the short side.

- With the outcome no longer in doubt the game featured some rough stuff in the final half of the period. Marcus McIvor and Maine's Brady Gaudette were both given five-minute majors plus a 10-minute misconduct for facemasking, a strange penalty that is enforced in NCAA that we don't see in U Sports.

- Mark Simpson was out of the line-up for UNB. Instead of going with 11 forwards and seven defenceman, Gardiner MacDougall instead chose to play defenceman Benjamin Gagne up front.

- Shots in the game were 32-14 for UNB with period totals of 12-5, 13-5, and 7-4.

- While the Reds had a number of high quality chances they didn't convert, the Black Bears offense was stymied all night as they were unable to generate much in the way of dangerous opportunities.

- Special teams play is usually a big advantage for NCAA teams during these games, however UNB had a great weekend in that regard. After going 2/4 on the power play and 3/3 on the penalty kill against Boston College yesterday afternoon, the Reds went 3/5 with the man advantage and 3/3 on the PK today.

- UNB won 39 out of 62 face-offs.

- The Reds have now won their last two meetings with Maine. They won 5-1 in the fall of 2015. They improve to 7-19-2 all-time versus the Black Bears, but are 4-5-1 in the last ten meetings.

- This is the first shutout UNB has recorded against an NCAA team since extensive game by game records have been kept (starting in 1967).

- Oddly, UNB was the only AUS team to travel to the US this weekend. Usually Acadia, St. FX, and UPEI make annual treks south of the border as well, but they all decided against it this season.

- Perhaps the biggest headline of the weekend has been the Alberta Golden Bears defeating the two-time reigning NCAA champions - and current #1 ranked - University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs 5-3 last night.

- As a result, there were a pair of conference games last night. St. FX handled Moncton 6-1 in Antigonish and Saint Mary's held off Dalhousie by a 4-3 score on home ice.

- Up next for UNB is (finally) a game at the AUC. They will raise their 2019 National Championship banner prior to the home opener on Friday against Moncton. Game time in 7PM.

UNB/Maine Webcast

For those of you who can't make it to Orono this afternoon for the exhibition game between the Black Bears and Reds, it appears the game will be streamed here. Game time is 5PM AST.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Eagles Double Up Reds

The University of New Brunswick Reds headed south of the border this weekend for their annual trip against NCAA competition. Up first for UNB was a date with the Boston College Eagles, who enter the season as Hockey East favourites. Despite being heavily out-shot it was the Eagles coming away with a 4-2 victory.

- Kris Bennett (Boland) opened the scoring with a nifty between-the-legs power play goal from in tight 13:54 into the game, beating the highly-touted Spencer Knight in the Eagles net.

- BC would grab the lead before the end of the 1st period with two late goals - from David Cotton at 17:53 and then by Jack McBain at 19:22.

- The Eagles added another two goals in the 2nd period, getting goals from Matt Boldy at 4:53 and Mike Hardman at 13:18.

- An Olivier LeBlanc (Anderson, Boland) power play goal 3:59 into the 3rd period rounded out the scoring.

- Shots were 37-21 in favour of the visitors with period totals of 12-8, 9-9, and 16-4.

- Rylan Parenteau went the distance in goal.

- UNB went 2 for 6 on the power play while doing a nice job on the penalty kill, snuffing out all three BC man advantages.

- The Reds won 32 out of 59 face-offs.

- The Eagles line-up features three 2019 1st round NHL draft picks in F Matt Boldy (12th overall, Minnesota), G Spencer Knight (13th overall, Florida), and Newfoundland native F Alex Newhook (16th, Colorado).

- UNB drops to 2-8-1 all-time versus the Eagles. Their last win came in 2015 (5-2).

- The Reds travel north to face the Maine Black Bears tomorrow afternoon. The Black Bears, who are pegged to finish 8th in the 11 team Hockey East conference, were blasted 7-0 by Providence College today. Puck drop is 5PM AST.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

U Sports Top Ten (#1): Defending Champs Ranked Second

The Alberta Golden Bears topped the inaugural men's hockey top ten rankings which were released earlier today. Meanwhile, the team that defeated them in the University Cup final - the UNB Reds - were close behind in second place.

This season the rankings will be determined exclusively by the ELO Rating System, instead of the 50/50 split between the ELO system and media members from across the country like last year.

In the initial poll the Golden Bears received 1799.88 points while UNB had 1786.64. The only other AUS team to make the rankings was St. FX, who came in 3rd with 1675.86 points.

The rest of the top ten includes Ottawa, Calgary, Carleton, McGill, Queen's, Guelph, and Ryerson.

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of these rankings is the omission of the Saskatchewan Huskies, who opened the regular season with a pair of losses last weekend. Not only are they out of the rankings for the first time since the end of the 2014-2015 season, but their streak of 77 straight weeks in the top-five had been the longest in the country.

Goulet Named UNB Athlete Of The Week

With the departure of high scoring forwards Christopher Clapperton and Cameron Brace, UNB will be relying on a number of returning players to help offset that offense. Third year forward Alexandre Goulet is one of those players and after two games he has more than done his part thus far, which earned him UNB/Papa John's Pizza male athlete of the week honours.

In a season opening 9-3 win over Saint Mary's on Friday night, Goulet paced the offense with a hat-trick and an assist. He added another goal on Saturday - with less than a second left in the 2nd period that tied the game - in an eventual 6-4 loss to Acadia.

Goulet and the Reds are back on the road this weekend for exhibition games against Boston College and Maine.