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.