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.