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.