Saturday, November 30, 2019

Reds Handle Huskies

The University of New Brunswick Reds were once again up against a team that was missing numerous key players but, unlike last night, they left no doubt this evening as they earned an 8-1 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies in Halifax.

The Reds raced out to a 3-1 lead after the opening twenty minutes. Samuel Dove-McFalls (Cooper, McIvor) got the scoring started 2:48 into the game when he skated across the blue line and released what looked to be a harmless wrist shot that eluded Xavier Potvin. Brady Gilmour doubled the lead 11:13 after a Joe Gatenby point shot found its way through traffic and to Gilmour, who was all alone in front. The freshman forward made a deke to get the puck around Potvin. The Huskies took just over a minute to get that one back, however. Jacob Friend found Mitchell Balmas on a 2-on-1 break and the rookie sensation beat Samuel Harvey with a shot short side to cut the lead to 2-1. Matthew Boucher (McIvor, Gilmour) restored the two goal cushion at 16:24 when he was camped out in the crease to Potvin's right and was able to get a stick on McIvor's shot, redirecting it into the net. Shots were 9-7 for UNB in the period.

The 2nd period was the Reds best of the night as they added three more goals and held a 15-3 shot advantage. At 7:56 Tyler Boland (Boucher, Watling), who moments earlier hit the far post, got the puck back in a similar spot in the right face-off circle and beat Potvin short side. Gatenby (Boland) then got his second of the season at 14:27 when he drifted a wrist shot in from the blue line to push the lead to 5-1. Kris Bennett (Watling) got UNB's 6th of the night at 18:05 after he circled out of the corner with the puck, skated untouched through the slot, and beat Potvin with a backhander.

The Reds struck for two more goals in the opening half of the 3rd period with Alexandre Goulet (Rassell, Simpson) and Dove-McFalls (Cooper, Murphy, with his second of the night while on the power play, finding the back of the net against Marc Terriault, who had replaced Potvin in the Huskies net to begin the period. Shots in the period were 7-5 for UNB, who played almost the entire final five minutes shorthanded, including being down two men for 116 seconds.

- Noah Carroll was the lone scratch.

- Shots in the game were 31-15 for UNB.

- The Reds were 1 for 5 on the power play. The Huskies were 0 for 6.

- UNB held a slight 42-39 advantage in the face-off circle. Tyler Boland had the best night, winning 12 out of 19 draws.

- Gilmour, Boucher, and Balmas were the game's three stars.

-  Attendance was 684.

- The Huskies were playing without their top defenceman - and the league's second leading scorer - Nick Welsh and another top-4 defenceman in Dylan DiPerna due to suspensions stemming from Friday night's game against Moncton. They were also without #1 goalie Erick Brassard, point per game forward Dawson Theede, and another top pairing defender in Alex Peters due to injury.

- To make matters worse, the Huskies also lost defenceman Jacob Friend for the game late in the 2nd period after Friend was assessed his second 'contact to the head' penalty and 10 minute misconduct of the contest. This resulted in a game misconduct. Friend racked up a healthy 36 minutes in penalties on the evening.

- Samuel Harvey (14 saves) continued his strong play of late, turning in his 6th straight game allowing two goals or fewer. Since surrendering 6 goals in his first start of the year, Harvey has only given up 12 goals in 8 games.

- UNB has outscored the Huskies 17-4 in two games at the Dauphinee Centre this season.

- In other action around the league on the final night of action before the Christmas break, the Moncton Aigles Bleus scored two goals in the final two minutes to force overtime against Acadia, but Owen MacDonald's overtime goal allowed the Axemen to escape with a 4-3 win on home ice. Meanwhile, in Charlottetown the Dalhousie Tigers held on for an important 3-2 victory over the UPEI Panthers.

- UNB enters the holiday break in 2nd place for the first time in a number of years. The Acadia Axemen (14-4-0) lead the pack while the Reds (13-4-0) are two points behind, albeit with a game in hand. The Saint Mary's Huskies (10-8-0) Moncton Aigls Bleus (8-6-4) are tied for 3rd place, both with 20 points. The St. FX X-Men (7-9-2) are in 5th place while the UPEI Panthers (6-8-3) are only a point behind and, along with UNB, have played one fewer game than everyone else. The Dalhousie Tigers (4-12-2) are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, five points behind the Panthers.

- The next game for UNB will be an exhibition tilt against the OUA's Windsor Lancers in the annual Pete Kelly Cup. It is schedule for 4PM on Sunday, December 29th. 

- While the players now turn their focus to exams, us fans will be following the rumour mill. UNB still has three roster spots open and will no doubt be looking to add reinforcements to bolster their line-up for the second semester.

- The Reds also have another exhibition game available should they choose to use it. They originally had a full complement of six games, but the cancelled pre-season game against Acadia means they now only have five exhibition games on the schedule.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Struggles In Wolfville Continue

The University of New Brunswick Reds suffered their 11th loss in their last 14 pre-Christmas games in Wolfville as the Acadia Axemen held on for a 3-2 win tonight.

UNB, who never led in this one, received goals from Olivier LeBlanc (Anderson, Simpson) to tie the game 1-1 at 14:02 of the 1st period and Matthew Boucher (Goulet, Gilmour), who connected for a power play goal at :12 of the 2nd period to pull the Reds to within 3-2. However, that would be as close as they would get as Logan Flodell (40 saves) out-dueled Rylan Parenteau (24 saves) to send Acadia into 1st place. The Axemen are now 13-4-0 on the season while UNB is 12-4-0.

- Noah Carroll was the only scratch for UNB.

- It was another frustrating missed opportunity for the Reds as the Axemen were playing a man short and were missing their top forward (Stephen Harper), top defenceman (Garrett McFadden), and another top-6 forward in Rodney Southam. Harper also missed the first meeting this year, a 6-4 Axemen victory. 

- UNB went 1 for 4 on the power play. Acadia scored once on three chances.

- The Axemen won 34 out of 65 face-offs.

- The Reds held a 42-27 shot advantage with period totals of 11-9, 19-11, and 12-7.

- Despite holding a slight edge in play, UNB gave up way too many odd-man rushes, including a goal on a shorthanded breakaway that proved to be the game winner. Acadia, for their part, didn't give up any odd-man rushes and did a good job at keeping most of the Reds shots to the outside.

- In other AUS action, Saint Mary's picked up a solid 5-2 home victory over Moncton and UPEI edged St. FX 6-5 in a wild game in Antigonish that featured 85 shots on goal.

- UNB will look to regroup tomorrow night as they face the Saint Mary's Huskies in their final game before the Christmas break. Game time is 7PM.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

U Sports Top Ten (#9): Reds Reclaim Top Spot

Two impressive home victories - coupled with a rare loss by the Alberta Golden Bears - means the University of New Brunswick Reds are once again the top ranked men's hockey team in the country. 

The Reds amassed 1811.66 ELO points in the latest rankings, which were released yesterday afternoon. This was enough for them to overtake Alberta, who had 1773.29 points after they split a weekend series in Manitoba against the Bisons.

Spots 3-5 remain unchanged with the Carleton Ravens (1733.03), Toronto Varsity Blues (1665.72), and Saskatchewan Huskies (1654.09) all holding steady for another week.

It appears the new ELO rating system has led to a lot of volatility from week to week, especially amongst the lower ranked team, and this week was no different with four teams re-entering the rankings. The Mount Royal Cougars (6th with 1619.74 points), Acadia Axemen (7th, 1619.70), Ryerson Rams (8th, 1613.07), and Windsor Lancers (10th, 1602.77) are all back in the rankings while the Calgary Dinos (1606.64) remained in 9th.

Here are the notable games this week:

FRIDAY
#1 UNB at #7 Acadia
#3 Carleton at McGill
#4 Toronto at Brock
#5 Saskatchewan at #6 Mount Royal

SATURDAY
#1 UNB at Saint Mary's
Moncton at #7 Acadia
#5 Saskatchewan at #6 Mount Royal
Guelph at #10 Windsor

Dove-McFalls Takes Weekly Honour

Reds forward Samuel Dove-McFalls has been named the UNB Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week after a pair of big performances in two convincing home victories this past weekend.

On Friday night Dove-McFalls was named the player of the game in a 10-0 blowout of the Dalhousie Tigers. He scored two goals - including the opening marker that set off the annual Teddy Bear Toss - and won 16 out of 24 face-offs. He added two assists the next night as the Reds easily dispatched St. FX 8-1.

On the season the 2nd year forward has 3 goals and 6 assists in 15 games, while winning over 65% of his face-offs and playing a key role on UNB's top-ranked penalty kill.

Dove-McFalls and the Reds conclude the 1st half of their schedule this weekend with two big road tests. They face the Acadia Axemen on Friday night and then visit Saint Mary's the next night.

Postponed Game Rescheduled

The game against the UPEI Panthers, originally scheduled for November 16th in Charlottetown, but  cancelled due to high winds on the Confederation Bridge, has been rescheduled. It will now be played on Tuesday, January 14th at 7PM.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

X-Men No Match For Big Red Machine

It's hard to imagine a weekend going much better for the University of New Brunswick Reds. A night after thumping Dalhousie 10-0, they completely overmatched the St. FX X-Men. The relentless Reds out-manned, out-worked, and out-skilled their rivals in an 8-1 romp tonight at the AUC. UNB moves to 12-3-0 at the halfway mark of the regular season, keeping pace with the 12-4-0 Acadia Axmen atop the conference.

The best part of the game for the X-Men was the first 44 seconds as that was all it look for Stephen Anderson to get UNB off and running. Alexandre Goulet got the puck in the corner after a Mark Simpson face-off win, circled behind the net, and fed Anderson in front who flipped a backhander past Joseph Raaymakers. Much like last night UNB built an insurmountable 1st period lead, adding two more goals before the horn sounded. At 12:05 Goulet (Boland, LeBlanc) got the puck all alone in the slot for a one-timer that hit the post and went in. The goal came on the back half of a 5-on-3 power play and gave UNB a 2-0 lead. Just 82 seconds later Simpson (Murphy) got the puck just inside the blue line, took a few strides, and put a shot into the top right corner. Just like that the rout was on. The Reds out-shot the X-Men 21-6 in an impressive opening period.

UNB didn't take their foot off the gas in the 2nd period as they out-shot St. FX 21-4 and pumped in four more goals. Patrick Watling's (LeBlanc, Boland) unleashed a seeing-eye shot from the boards near the blue-line that just caught the inside of the far post to make it 4-0 at 3:47 and then he added another - his 7th of the season - 63 seconds later, gaining positioning on the defenceman and re-directing a nice Tyler Boland pass past the out-stretched right leg of Raaymakers. This spelled the end of Raaymakers night after giving up five goals on 30 shots. He was also left out to dry on multiple other occasions as he did his best to keep his team in the game. Blade Mann-Dixon entered the game and he did his part to hold the fort, making a number of big saves. The X-Men had an opportunity to get on the board when Matthew Graham was hauled down on a breakaway, giving him a penalty shot at 10:43. However, Samuel Harvey stood tall in the UNB and blockered Graham's wrist shot away. Things went from bad to worse for St. FX when they Bailey Webster was assessed a delay of game penalty at 9:19. With a 6-0 lead this afforded the coaching staff a chance to give some players who don't usually get power play time a chance with the man advantage and they took advantage when James McEwan (Gagne, Dove-McFalls) leaned into a one-timer in the high slot, beating Mann-Dixon on his glove side at 12:32. The Reds would head into the intermission with a 7-0 lead.

With the game no longer in doubt the Reds appeared to ease off a bit in the 3rd, out-shooting the X-Men 11-4. Although St. FX was able to break Harvey's shut-out bid at 9:41 when Mark Tremaine camped out in front of the net and was able to tip in a long shot, UNB answered with a power play goal at 15:26 to restore their seven goal cushion. Oliver Cooper (Rassell, Dove-McFalls) did some good, hard, dirty work in front of the net and was rewarded when he was able to swipe the puck into a waning net as Mann-Dixon was well out of position. That would cap the scoring in what was an all around dominating performance from the Reds.

- UNB went with the same line-up as last night with Benjamin Gagne playing in place of Noah Carroll.

- Shots in the game were 53-14. UNB out-shot their opposition 111-25 on the weekend, registering 20+ shots on goal in four out of the six periods they played.

 - Samuel Harvey had to make a couple tough saves among the 13 shots he turned aside. He is now 4-1-0 with a 1.21 GAA and 0.933 save percentage in his last five starts.

- As mentioned, both Raaymakers and Mann-Dixon made a number of tough saves as well. Although the score was 8-1, the game wasn't as close as the final score would indicate.

- UNB won 51 out of 87 face-offs. Mark Simpson had a huge night in the dot, winning 21 out of 27 draws.

- The Reds went 3 for 9 on the power play. St. FX was shut out on four opportunities.

- The X-Men were missing a number of regulars, forcing them to play with only 16 skaters.

- Attendance was 2088.

- Anderson’s second two goal game of the weekend earned him player of the game honours.

- Since suffering a heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss to St. FX in the 2018 University Cup semi-finals, UNB has gone 5-0 against the X-Men at the Aitken Centre. They have out-scored them 35-8 in the process.

- UNB out-scored Dalhousie and St. FX by a combined 18-1 count this weekend. Their +17 goal differential is the most lopsided they have had in consecutive games since 2003/2004 when they beat Moncton 11-1 and then York 9-1.

- UNB entered the weekend having scored 4.38 goals per game (57 goals in 13 games) so far this season, well below last season's average of five goals per game. After this weekend they have now scored 75 goals in 15 games, exactly five per game.

- In other AUS action tonight, Acadia scored three times in the 3rd period to defeat UPEI 3-1 in Wolfville and Moncton continued their recent hot streak, blowing out Dalhousie 7-2 on home ice.

- After six straight home games, the Reds are on the road next weekend to finish up the first half of the season. They are in Wolfville on Friday night for a first place showdown against the Acadia Axemen and then head to Halifax the next evening for a date with the Saint Mary's Huskies. Game time is 7PM for both contests.

- UNB are back on home ice on Sunday, December 29th when they host the OUA's Windsor Lancers at 4PM in the annual Pete Kelly Cup.

Historic Night For MacDougall

Gardiner MacDougall picked up his 400th career regular season victory - and 500th between regular season and postseason play - as the University of New Brunswick Reds thrashed the visiting Dalhousie Tigers 10-0 in the 4th annual Teddy Bear Toss game. With the win UNB (11-3-0) moves back into a 1st place tie with Acadia with a game in hand.

Simply put, this was game was a dominating performance from the defending University Cup champions as UNB struck for four goals in the 1st period to put the game out of reach early. Samuel Dove-McFalls (Rassell, Gagne) opened the scoring at 3:46 when he was the recipient of a nice pass from Mark Rassell and put a wrist shot into the top right corner, triggering a shower of stuffed animals on to the ice. It marks the second straight year Dove-McFalls has scored the Teddy Bear Toss goal. After a brief delay to pick up a record-setting 1443 stuffed animals, the game resumed and the Reds continued their onslaught. At 8:15 Alexandre Goulet (Simpson, LeBlanc) got a step on the defence, splitting two Tigers defenders and beat Reilly Pickard blocker side. It only took 25 seconds for UNB to add another with Tyler Boland (Bennett, Watling) sneaking the puck in short-side from tough angle near the goal line. The Tigers got some life mid-way through the period when Rassell and Bennett took penalties 24 seconds apart. However, not only did they fail to generate anything offensively, they surrendered a shorthanded goal when Rassell (Pomerleau, Parenteau) got the puck in the neutral zone after coming out of the penalty box and went in all alone, making a quick move before snapping the puck in to make it 4-0 at 11:21. The Reds carried the commanding lead into the intermission, out-shooting Dalhousie 22-4 in the period.

UNB increased their lead to 6-0 after two periods. Rassell (Boland, Cooper) added his second of the night at 14:41 of the 2nd period as Tyler Boland's short pass found him at the lip of the crease for a tap-in. Dove-McFalls (Bennett) would score his second of the night at 18:22, receiving a pass from Bennett in tight and jamming it past Pickard. Shots in the period favoured the home side 16-3.

The Reds added four more goals over the final twenty minutes to turn the game into a laugher. Some beautiful passing on the power play resulted in Matthew Boucher (Rassell, Gilmour) getting his 8th of the season at 2:28, some seven seconds into the man advantage. A Stephen Anderson (Goulet, Gagne) breakaway goal 41 seconds would spell the end of the night for a visibly frustrated and upset Pickard, who took out his anger by throwing his stick and mask into the bench and slamming the bench door. Backup goalie Kevin Resop was peppered with 16 shots in his 16:51 of action and gave up the final two goals of the night - a one-timer from the hash marks on the power play from Anderson (Simpson, Goulet) at 9:29 and a wrist shot from the slot by defenceman Matt Murphy (Gilmour) at 14:51. Shots in the period were 20-4 for UNB.

- Noah Carroll was out of the line-up as Benjamin Gagne was back on defence.

- Shots in the game were 58-11 for UNB.

- The Reds went 2 for 5 on the power play. The Tigers were 0 for 7.

- UNB won 54 out of 87 face-offs with Dove-McFalls (16 out of 24), Simpson (15 out of 20), and Boland (13 out of 21) all having strong nights.

- Attendance was 2861.

- Tigers starting goaltender Connor Hicks, who has had some incredible performances against UNB over the last two seasons, was not dressed.

- Only three Reds players did not register a point - Joe Gatenby, Marcus McIvor, and James McEwan.

- Rylan Parenteau was hardly tested at all as he picked up his second shut-out of the season.

- This is tied for the biggest win under Gardiner MacDougall. They also had 10-0 wins over Moncton (2019) and UPEI (2009) as well as 11-1 victories over Moncton (2003) and Nipissing (2014).

- MacDougall is now 400-134-18 in AUS regular season play. He is 500-179-18 in AUS regular season + postseason games.

- It was a good night on the out-of-town scoreboard for UNB. The UPEI Panthers doubled the 3rd place Saint Mary's Huskies 6-3 on home-ice and Moncton blanked St. FX 3-0 at home.

- UNB is back at the AUC Saturday night as they welcome the rival St. FX X-Men to town. Game time is 7PM.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

U Sports Top Ten (#8): Status Quo At Top

The top three spots in the latest men's hockey top ten rankings - Alberta, UNB, and Carleton - stayed the same as the week prior, but all other positions saw some movement.

The Golden Bears (1825.96 ELO points), Reds (1794.80), and Ravens (1726.02) compose the top three teams in the nation for a fifth straight week.

The Toronto Varsity Blues continued their remarkable ascent, moving up to 4th with 1650.90 points, placing them just ahead of the Saskacthewan Huskies (1644.03).

The bottom half of the top ten is made up of Ottawa (1606.74) - down two spots to 6th, Guelph (1597.44), Saint Mary's (1590.28) - down one spot to 8th, Calgary (1589.29), and McGill (1585.04). The Gryphons, Dinos, and McGill all return to the rankings after a one week absence.

The Reds are at the AUC for two games this weekend. On Friday night they host Dalhousie in the always-anticipated annual Teddy Bear Toss game. They welcome rival St. FX the following evening. Both games are set for a 7PM start.

Here are the other notable games this week:

WEDNESDAY
Acadia defeated #8 Saint Mary's 5-2

THURSDAY
Ryerson at #7 Guelph

SATURDAY
St. FX at #2 UNB

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Game Postponed

The game tonight between UNB and UPEI in Charlottetown has been cancelled due to high winds on the Confederation Bridge.

A make-up date will be announced at a later time.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Reds Roll To Win

The University of New Brunswick Reds scored three 1st period goals and cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Moncton Aigles Bleus tonight at the AUC. UNB improves to 10-3-0 on the season to keep pace with the Acadia Axemen atop the standings.

The Reds received goals in the opening twenty minutes from Patrick Watling (Boland, Pomerleau) at 1:06, Stephen Anderson (Boland, Bennett) on the power play at 14:58, and Samuel Dove-McFalls (Cooper) at 16:25. Matt Murphy (Harvey) added another 9:45 into the 2nd period to make it 4-0.

A Gabriel Vanier power play goal at 17:42 of the middle frame broke Samuel Harvey’s shutout bid.

- Matthew Boucher was out of the lineup while Benjamin Gagne drew in.

- UNB out-shot Moncton 40-23 on the evening.

- The Reds went 1 for 6 on the power play while Moncton went 1 for 5.

- UNB held a 41-20 advantage in the face-off circle.

- Attendance was 3374 on Northside/Francophone Elementary School Night.

- The Reds are on the road tomorrow night to face UPEI.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

U Sports Top Ten (#7): Reds 2nd After Shake Up

As expected, after a week which saw eight top ten teams drop at least one game the latest men's hockey top ten rankings have a drastically different look.

The Alberta Golden Bears, who were the only team to go undefeated last week, moved back into the top spot with 1821.13 ELO points. This moved them past UNB and their 1780.13 points. 

The Carleton Ravens were the only team to hold steady as they come in 3rd with 1696.22 points. The Ottawa Gee Gees (1618.05) move from outside of the rankings to 4th and the Saskatchewan Huskies (1617.07) are up a spot despite enjoying a bye week. 

The big story this week are the Toronto Varsity Blues (1614.50), who are ranked for the first time since the 2012/2013 season. Their 6th place ranking is their highest since 1992/1993. 

Rounding out the top ten are the Saint Mary's Huskies (1604.96), who are up a spot after their win over UNB, Brock Badgers (1595.45), Ryerson Rams (1594.93), and Acadia Axemen (1593.79), dropping six spots after losses to Moncton and UNB last weekend. 

Here are the notable games this week:

WEDNESDAY
#7 Saint Mary's at St. FX

FRIDAY
#10 Acadia at St. FX
#4 Ottawa at #3 Carleton
Guelph at #8 Brock

Boland Is Athlete Of The Week

Reds 3rd year forward Tyler Boland has been named the UNB Reds/Papa John's Pizza male athlete of the week after his performance in a pair of games last weekend.

On Friday night Boland scored UNB's lone goal in a 3-1 setback to the Saint Mary's Huskies. The next afternoon, in a first place showdown against the Acadia Axemen, he scored twice - including the game winning goal with 47 seconds remaining - to give UNB a crucial 4-3 win.

The Newfoundland native is currently tied for 4th in AUS scoring with 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in 12 games. His + 12 rating is 2nd in the conference.

Boland and his teammates are on home ice tomorrow night to face the Moncton Aigles Bleus. They travel to the island to face the UPEI Panthers Saturday night.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Boland's Late Heroics Lifts Reds

The 1st place Acadia Axemen erased a two goal 3rd period deficit and looked on their way to sending their game against the University of New Brunswick Reds to overtime, but Tyler Boland's second goal of the game with 47 seconds remaining gave the home team a thrilling 4-3 win this afternoon at the AUC. The win pulls UNB into a tie atop the conference with the Axemen as both teams have identical 9-3-0 records.

- After a disappointing performance the night before against Saint Mary's, today was a much more inspiring effort from UNB, although still probably not up to their high standards.

- The Reds were rewarded for their hot start when the 4th line of Brady Gilmour, Oliver Cooper, and James McEwan combined for the game's first goal at 8:29. The puck came out front to McEwan and, after his first attempt was stopped by Axemen goaltender Logan Flodell, he stuck with the play and batted in the rebound.

- The Axemen got the equalizer on the power play at 14:53. Jordy Stallard sent a pass from the blueline to Cristiano Digiacinto, who was all alone at the side of the net for an easy re-direction past Rylan Parenteau.

- It only took 56 seconds for UNB the respond. Kris Bennett threw the puck on net from the point, which Flodell kicked out, but Boland scooped up the rebound just outside the crease and was able to get the puck just past Flodell's out-stretched left leg. Matt Murphy also picked up an assist on the marker.

- The Reds added to their lead at 15:37 of the 2nd period as Joe Gatenby patiently waited before throwing a puck from the point into traffic in front of the net. Mark Simpson was able to get a piece of it and deposit it into the net for a 3-1 lead. Tristan Pomerleau was credited with the secondary assist on the insurance goal.

- Acadia got some life early in the 3rd period as Alexandre Goulet was sent off for elbowing 11 seconds into the period and they took advantage. The Reds penalty kill, which struggled all weekend, left Maurizio Colella all alone in the right face-off circle and he blasted a slap shot that beat Parenteau clean glove side.

- The Reds power play had back to back power play opportunities at 7:51 and 9:59 that came up empty, and it looked like they would get another crack with the man advantage at 11:49 when Digiacinto was whistled for boarding. However, the penalty was wiped out when Noah Carroll gave Digiacinto a nudge on his way to the penalty box that dropped the Axemen forward like a bag of bricks. Unfortunately, the referee bought the impressive acting job and sent Carroll off as well for unsportsmanlike conduct.

- After a few minutes of tense play the game began to settle down again and Acadia was able to tie it up at 16:30 after a nice end to end rush by defenceman Garrett McFadden, who rushed down the right side, drove towards the goal, and slid the puck past Parenteau.

- This set the stage for Boland. With under a minute to play two Reds brought the puck up the ice and into the Axemen zone. Boland (Bennett, Murphy) got the puck at the right face-off dot and his wrist shot found the inside of the far post to give UNB the lead with 47 seconds remaining. The Reds forecheck did the rest as they kept the puck hemmed in the Axemen zone for the rest of the game, not giving Flodell a chance to leave for the extra attacker. 

- Shots in the game were 35-21 for UNB. Period totals were 13-6, 13-5, and 9-10.

- Benjamin Gagne was the only scratch.

- Acadia went 2 for 5 on the power play. UNB was 0 for 4 on the afternoon - and 0 for 9 on the weekend.

- The Reds were definitely much more engaged today as they forced Flodell into making a number of big saves - including a point blank glove save off Bennett after a cross-ice pass - and were able to create a lot more chaos and chances around the net. For his part, Rylan Parenteau was solid as well with his best stop coming on a desperation stick save on a shot that looked like a sure game-tying goal midway through the contest.

- A hard hit on Bennett in the 2nd period caused the UNB bench - and head coach Gardiner MacDougall in particular - to give the officials an ear full. It was about as animated as you will ever see the Reds bench boss as he gave the referees his opinion on the play. After going down the tunnel for a few moments Bennett was back on the ice and didn't look the worse for wear. 

- UNB won 40 out of 69 face-offs. Samuel Dove-McFalls (15 out of 26), Tyler Boland (10 out of 18), and Mark Simpson (9 out of 15) all had good showings in the face-off circle.

- Tyler Boland was the game's first star followed by Bennett and McFadden.

- Attendance was 2174, a respectable showing for the uncommon start time.

- Acadia's struggles at the AUC continue. They are now 0-33-3 against UNB at the Aitken Centre since the beginning of the 2006-2007 season. However, they have won a game in regulation at the AUC since then - a 4-1 win over Alberta at the 2017 University Cup.

- The other two AUS games go tonight. Saint Mary's looks to match Acadia and UNB at the top of the standings when they travel to Moncton to face the Aigles Bleus and UPEI is in Halifax for a match-up against Dalhousie.

- UNB is back on home-ice next Friday night when they host Moncton on Home Depot night at the AUC. Game time is 7PM.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Reds Lackluster In Loss

The Saint Mary's Huskies were blown out by the University of New Brunswick Reds in the season opener. Tonight they turned the tables, stunning the top ranked and defending champions 3-1 at the Aitken Centre to hand UNB their first regulation loss on home ice in 22 months.

- The game never saw its first goal until the latter stages of the 2nd period. A hard point shot ricocheted off the end boards and came out the other side, right to Mitchell Balmas who backhanded it past Samuel Harvey. The power play marker was the only one through 40 minutes.

- Trailing 1-0 heading into the 3rd period the Reds came out with a lack of urgency as they didn't generate their first shot on goal until just under seven minutes into the frame. They then had a power play opportunity snuffed out only 14 seconds in when Patrick Watling took an offensive zone penalty.

- The Huskies power play struck again at 13:13 to extend their lead when Connor McGlynn put in the puck from a sharp angle from the goal line.

- Tyler Boland got that one right back and gave UNB some life 25 seconds later when he weaved through the slot and wired a wrist shot past Erik Brassard.

- The Reds pulled Harvey with two minutes remaining, but didn't get a shot on goal. An empty net goal from Fredericton native Noah Zilbert at 19:52 salted the win away for the Huskies.

- Shots in the game were 30-26 for UNB with period totals of 10-5, 12-13, and 8-8.

- Although they had 30 shots on goal, the Reds didn't force Brassard to make nearly enough tough saves. Outside of hitting a couple posts and a few scrambles in front of the net, the high-powered UNB offense was stifled.

- Special teams were the difference. UNB entered the game with the league's top ranked penalty kill and power play, but SMU went 2 for 5 on the power play while the Reds were 0 for 5, which included a 65 second two man advantage midway through the game.

- Benjamin Gagne was the lone scratch.

- The Huskies were without three of their top players in Dawson Theede, Logan DeNoble, and Alex Peters.

- Attendance was reported as a generous 1972. Fredericton was hit with their first storm of the season, which no doubt kept many away. As a result, the atmosphere in the rink was almost non-existent.

- Samuel Dove-McFalls won 14 out of 19 face-offs, helping UNB to a 37 for 64 night in the dot.

- Zilbert's goal was the first empty net goal UNB has allowed in conference play since January 24th, 2015 against Acadia.

- UNB's last regulation loss on home ice came on January 6th, 2018 in a 5-2 setback against St. FX.

- Before tonight they had gone 33-0-3 at the AUC since that loss.

- Interestingly, Saint Mary's have now won three of their last four games at the AUC. They won 2-1 in OT and 4-3 in OT in their first two trips to Fredericton last season. UNB took the third meeting by a 3-1 count.

- The Huskies have done as good a job as any team at stifling UNB's attack at the AUC. The Reds have only scored 15 goals in their last seven home games versus SMU.

- In three of those games UNB have been held to one goal. By comparison, in the 41 home games they have played against non-SMU teams since the beginning of the 2017-2018 season the Reds have averaged 5.51 goals per game and never scored fewer than two goals.

- If there is a silver-lining to the evening it is that the 1st place Acadia Axmen saw their nine game winning streak end with a 4-2 loss in Moncton to the Aigles Bleus. The UPEI Panthers doubled up St. FX 6-3 in Charlottetown in the other contest on the schedule.

- The Reds will need a much better effort tomorrow when they face Acadia with first place on the line. A reminder that the game is scheduled for a 4PM start.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

UNB Holds Ring Ceremony

The 2018-2019 University Cup champion Reds were celebrated one last time last evening. During a special ceremony at Kingswood Lodge, members of the team were presented with their championship rings. This capped off arguably the finest season in school history, in which UNB posted a 37-4-3 record - including a perfect 8-0 mark in postseason play - en route to their 8th national championship.

Here are a few pictures from the night (courtesy @UNBMHockey):



Watling Named Athlete Of The Month

Reds forward Patrick Watling has been named the UNB Reds/Valley Graphics male Athlete of the Month for October.

Watling posted four points in two exhibition games and another seven in regular season action, helping UNB to a 6-1 regular season record (and a 7-2 record overall) during the month.

Watling and the Reds will look to continue their success this weekend with a pair of home games versus top ten competition. They face the #8 Saint Mary's Huskies at 7PM on Friday night and then turn around for a 4PM puck drop against the #4 ranked Acadia Axemen Saturday afternoon.

U Sports Top Ten (#6): Reds Hold At #1

The University of New Brunswick Reds have held on to the top spot for another week in the latest men's hockey rankings, which were released yesterday.

The top five spots all remained unchanged with UNB (1814.14 ELO points), Alberta (1790.57), Carleton (1700.76), Acadia (1652.31), and Calgary (1618.29) holding their positions.

The Saskatchewan Huskies (1617.07) and McGill Redmen (1615.10) both moved up three spots to 6th and 7th respectively. Saint Mary's (1608.82) re-enter the rankings at number eight with Mount Royal (1598.21) and Guelph (1576.23) - also back in the top ten - rounding out this week's rankings.

Dropping out of the rankings are the St. FX X-Men (6th) and UQTR Patriotes (7th).

Here are the notable match-ups this coming week:

FRIDAY
#8 Saint Mary's at #1 UNB
#2 Alberta at #5 Calgary
#3 Carleton at #7 McGill

SATURDAY
#4 Acadia at #1 UNB
#5 Calgary at #2 Alberta
#7 McGill at Ottawa

SUNDAY
#3 Carleton at Ottawa

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Boucher's Big Night Paces Reds

Matthew Boucher scored four goals as the University of New Brunswick Reds won their third consecutive game with a 6-3 victory over the UPEI Panthers tonight at the Aitken Centre. UNB improves to 8-2-0 on the season, pulling back within two points of the idle Acadia Axemen (9-1-0).

A dominating opening period effort for the Reds - who out-shot the Panthers 18-5 in the game's opening twenty minutes - was rewarded at 14:39 with a power play goal. Mark Rassell sent a pass from the bottom of the right face-off circle to Boucher, who was all alone at the back door for the tap-in. Brady Gilmour also picked up an assist on the goal, which was UNB's league-leading 17th power play marker of the season.

A sloppy first couple of minutes of the second period cost the Reds their lead as Owen Headrick's point shot was deflected in the high-slot and got past Rylan Parenteau to tie the game 1-1 just 17 seconds into the period. After a couple of early penalties, which put the Panthers on a brief 5-on-3 advantage, were killed off the Reds got back to their game and broke it open. Boucher (LeBlanc, Gatenby) restored the lead at 7:28, taking a pass while cutting through the neutral zone, and snapping the puck past Simon Hofley's blocker and into the far side of the net. He completed the hat-trick at 11:02 when he pounced on a loose puck in the crease and helped it across the goal line. Samual Dove-McFalls and Patrick Watling were awarded the assists on the insurance goal. The onslaught continued just over two minutes later as Olivier LeBlanc's (Goulet) wrist shot snuck through Hofley to make it 4-1 at 13:20. Tyler Boland (Bennett, Anderson) put a one-timer under the cross-bar for another power play goal at 16:06 to finish a 8:38 stretch in which the Reds erupted for four unanswered goals. A Doug Blaisdell shot through traffic at 18:38 briefly stopped the bleeding for the Panthers, but Boucher (Watling, Simpson) got his fourth of the night on a scramble around the goal with 18 seconds remaining in the period to give UNB a 6-2 lead heading into intermission. The Reds out-shot UPEI 19-9 in the period.

Although UNB once again controlled play in the 3rd period, it was the Panthers scoring the lone goal with Conor MacEachern navigating the puck through a number of bodies and past a screened Parenteau, cutting the lead to three at 13:38. In search of his 5th goal of the night Boucher put a shot off the cross-bar, but that would be as close as UNB would come to scoring in the period as the game would end 6-3. Shots in the period were 15-5 for the Reds.

- Benjamin Gagne was the lone scratch for UNB.

- Shots were 52-19 for the Reds.

- UNB went 2 for 5 on the power play. UPEI came up empty on four chances.

- The Reds won 44 out of 75 face-offs with Dove-McFalls doing the most damage with a 19 for 24 night.

- Boucher (obviously) was named the player of the game. Watling (2 assists) and LeBlanc (1 goal, 1 assist) were the other two stars.

- 12 different players had a point for UNB.

- The Reds are operating at 31.6% on the power play so far this season, scoring 18 times on 57 chances.

- UNB have now won 19 straight home games versus the Panthers.

- This is the first four goal game by a UNB player in a conference game since Kyle Bailey also had four against St. Thomas on January 10th, 2010.

- Remarkably, the last five occurrences have been in post-season play - Philippe Maillet vs. Acadia in the 2015 AUS playoffs, Cam Braes (vs. Windsor) and Philippe Halley (vs. Guelph) in back to back games at the 2015 University Cup, Braes again in the 2017 University Cup final against Saskatchewan, and Kris Bennett against St. FX in last year's UCup semi-final.

- There was only one other game on the docket this evening and it saw Saint Mary's down St. FX 2-1 in a shoot-out.

- The Reds are back home next weekend for a doubleheader. They face the Saint Mary's Huskies on Friday night (7PM) and then take on the Acadia Axemen in a rare Saturday afternoon (4PM) tilt.