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.