Thursday, March 12, 2020

University Cup Cancelled

It is being reported that due to increasing COVID-19 concerns, the remainder of the 2020 University Cup has been cancelled. Here is the official statement from U Sports:

This is obviously very disappointing news for the Reds and their fans as UNB was the odds on favourites to repeat as champions, especially after the #2 seeded Saskatchewan Huskies were upset on Thursday afternoon. The Reds sent out a couple of tweets in wake of the news:


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

U Sports Hands Out Hardware

The annual U Sports All-Canadian gala was held tonight in Halifax and a pair of Reds players were honoured.

Forward Tyler Boland was named a first team all-star while goaltender Samuel Harvey was named to the all-rookie team.

Here is the complete list of honourees:

Player of the Year (Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy): G Taran Kozun, Saskatchewan
Goaltender of the Year: G Taran Kozun, Saskatchewan
Rookie of the Year (Clare Drake Award): F Mitchell Balmas, Saint Mary's
Defenceman of the Year: D Nikolas Brouillard, McGill
Most Sportsmanlike Player (R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award): F Levi Cable, Saskatchewan
Student-Athlete Community Service Award (Dr. Randy Gregg Award): Liam Maaskant, Acadia
Coach of the Year (Father George Kehoe Memorial Award): Ryan Medel, Toronto

First Team All-Stars
G - Taran Kozun, Saskatchewan
D - Nick Welsh, Saint Mary's
D - Nikolas Brouillard, McGill
F - David Thomson, Toronto
F - Tyler Boland, UNB
F - Grayson Pawlenchuk, Alberta

Second Team All-Stars
G - Logan Flodell, Acadia
D - Owen Headrick, UPEI
D - Adam Henry, Manitoba
F - Mitchell Balmas, Saint Mary's
F - Chris Paquette, RMC
F - Matt Alfaro, Calgary

All-Rookie Team
G - Samuel Harvey, UNB
D - Dawson Davidson, Alberta
D - Jordan Sambrook, Brock
F - Mitchell Balmas, Saint Mary's
F - Chris Paquette, RMC
F - Jared Dmytriw, Saskatchewan

The 2020 University Cup gets underway tomorrow with games at 2PM (Saskatchewan vs. Western) and 7PM (Saint Mary's vs. Guelph). If you can't make it to Halifax, you watch the entire tournament online here.

Monday, March 9, 2020

UNB vs. UBC: Preview, Prediction, Poll

If someone had said at the beginning of the season that the University of New Brunswick Reds would open the 2020 University Cup against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, you probably would have thought they were crazy.

But here we are.

The two teams will meet for the first time ever at 2PM on Friday afternoon in the third of four quarter-final match-ups. For the #1 ranked Reds, this is old hat of course. This will be their 12th appearance at the national tournament in the last 14 seasons with seven of those ending with a championship. But for the 8th seeded Thunderbirds, this marks their first trip to nationals in 42 years.

UBC struggled through an inconsistent regular season. They were winless through their first five games (0-3-2) and were 4-9-3 at the Christmas break. They would eventually fall to 4-11-5 before winning five out of their last eight games to finish 9-14-5, which was good enough for 5th place in the Canada West conference and a quarter-final match-up against the Mount Royal Cougars, a team that finished 15 points ahead of them in the standings. UBC would take the first game 4-2 before falling 5-3 in the second contest to send the series to a winner-take-all game three, where perhaps the turning point for the Thunderbirds season came. They held a 4-1 lead late in the 2nd period only to see the Cougars storm back to tie the game with two seconds remaining in regulation. With all of the momentum in their favour, it would not have come as any surprise if the Cougars completed the comeback. The T-Birds had other ideas though as Austin Vetterl scored 12:52 into overtime to send UBC to the Canada West semi-finals for the first time since 2007.

Waiting for them were the top ranked 23-5-0 Alberta Golden Bears, who had enjoyed a first round playoff bye. Even after the Thunderbirds shocked the Bears with a 3-2 overtime win in game one, many did not give UBC a chance at finishing the job, largely due to the fact they were out-shot 53-17 in the game. It seemed the pundits would be correct after Alberta walloped UBC 6-1 in the second game to even the series. However, the T-Birds once again had other plans and, in the process, turned the U Sports hockey world on its head. In one of the biggest upsets in recent memory, UBC stunned the Bears with a 2-1 victory, despite being out-shot 41-19, in the deciding game. The win locked up a University Cup berth and sent the Thunderbirds to the Canada West championship in search of their first conference crown since 1978.

Unfortunately, the magic ran out in Saskatoon against the #2 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies (22-4-2). Although they played the Huskies tough, UBC were swept by scores of 3-2 and 3-1.

On the season the Thunderbirds were one of the most offensively-challenged teams in the country, ranking 32nd (out of 35 teams) with only 2.57 goals per game and 26th with 30.5 shots per game. They rely heavily on their power play, which posted a respectable 21.7% success rate, good for 9th best in the nation. However, they will be in tough against a Reds team that led the country in goals against average (1.86) and shots allowed per game (20.7) and were 5th best at killing penalties (86.8%). Additionally, Samuel Harvey and Rylan Parenteau combined for a 0.910 save percentage, which ranked 10th in the nation.

Individually, UBC is led by forwards Tyler Sandhu (12 goals, 23 points), Austin Vetterl (19 points), Jake Kryski (18), and Carter Popoff (16). Jerret Smith (15) was their only defenceman to crack double digits in points. Overall, the T-Birds only had nine players notch at least ten points. By comparison, UNB had two 40 point scorers, seven 30 points scorers, and 11 20 point scorers.

Defensively, the Thunderbirds ranked 18th in the country with a 2.99 GAA and 26th with a 0.892 save percentage. They did feature an above average penalty kill, coming in at 14th overall with an 82.5 success rate and were one of the better teams at limiting shots on goal, only giving up 28 per game. Rylan Toth is their go-to-guy between the pipes as he played in 23 out of their 28 regular season games, putting up a 2.78 GAA and 0.902 save percentage in a conference-leading 1379 minutes. Of course, they will be trying to contain a UNB offense that paced the country in most categories, including goals per game (5.33), shots per game (41.7), and power play goals (47). The Reds also placed second in power play percentage (30.5%) and shorthanded goals (8), proving that you can't take a break against their line-up, even when you are up a man.

PREDICTION: Any team that goes into Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton and knocks off the Golden Bears deserves to be taken seriously. Rylan Toth showed that he can steal a series, let alone a single game - and the T-Birds played two close games against a very good Saskatchewan team in the CW Final - so nothing is guaranteed. Having said that, he will likely need to turn in another all-world performance to give the Thunderbirds a chance in this game. I know we seem to say this every year, but the Reds depth and skill will prove to be too much over 60 minutes for an inexperienced UBC squad. Ultimately, while Toth and the T-Birds keep it close for awhile, UNB pulls away for a comfortable victory to move on to semi-final Saturday.

POLL: Who do you got?


Who wins?

UNB in a close one (1 or 2 goals)
UNB in a blowout (3+ goals)
UBC
Created with QuizMaker

UNB At The University Cup

The University of New Brunswick Reds are scheduled to head to Halifax, Nova Scotia Tuesday for the 2020 University Cup. The 58th edition of the event begins on Thursday afternoon and wraps up with the Gold Medal game on Sunday night.

This will be their 19th appearance all-time at the tournament, including their 17th in the last 24 years, and 14th in 20 seasons under head coach Gardiner MacDougall.

Here is how they have made out at the previous 18 tournaments:

1964 (Kingston): 1-1 (Lost in semi-final)
1984 (Fredericton): 0-2 (Lost in Atlantic regional)
1997 (Toronto): 1-1 (Lost in final)
1998 (Saskatoon): 3-0 (Won championship)
2000 (Saskatoon): 2-1 (Lost in final)
2003 (Fredericton): 1-2 (Lost in semi-final + bronze medal game)
2004 (Fredericton): 2-1 (Lost in final)
2007 (Moncton): 3-0 (Won championship)
2008 (Moncton): 2-1 (Lost in final)
2009 (Thunder Bay): 3-0 (Won championship)
2011 (Fredericton): 3-0 (Won championship)
2012 (Fredericton): 1-1 (Lost in semi-final)
2013 (Saskatoon): 3-0 (Won championship)
2015 (Halifax): 2-1 (Lost in final)
2016 (Halifax): 3-0 (Won championship)
2017 (Fredericton): 3-0 (Won championship)
2018 (Fredericton): 2-1 (Lost in semi-final, Won bronze medal game)
2019 (Lethbridge): 3-0 (Won championship)

Some notes of interest:

- The Varsity Reds 8 championships rank 3rd to Alberta (16) and Toronto (10).

- Their 13 appearances in the championship game is tied with Toronto for second most all-time. Only Alberta (22) have appeared in more.

- Their 5 championship game losses are tied with Saint Mary's for 2nd most all-time. Both Alberta and Saskatchewan hold the dubious distinction of losing 6 championship games.

- The V-Reds have won 7 titles and appeared in 9 title games in the last 13 years.

- They have reached the gold medal game in 13 out of their last 16 appearances at the tournament.

- Interestingly, the three times they failed to reach the final, the tournament was held in Fredericton. The last ten times they have had to travel to the University Cup, the Reds have played in the championship game.

- UNB have won their opening game at the tournament in each of their previous 16 appearances.

- The Reds will be playing in their 6th straight tournament for the first time in school history.

- With three titles in the last four seasons, seniors Stephen Anderson and Marcus McIvor will looking to become the first UNB players to win four championships.

-  The Reds have played in a medal game in each of their previous six appearances at the tournament.

- UNB is 38-12 all-time at the University Cup, which equates to a 0.760 winning percentage. They are 31-7 (0.816) under Gardiner MacDougall.

- This includes 28 wins in their last 32 games.

- In the 50 games they have played at the University Cup, UNB have have out-scored the opposition 208-121 for an average of 4.16 goals per game and 2.42 goals against per game.

- UNB has recorded 7 shut-outs at the University Cup. They have never been shut-out.

- They are 7-3 all-time in games decided in overtime.

- In their previous two appearances at the University Cup in Halifax they won a silver medal (2015) and gold meda (2016).

- The Reds have never played a University Cup game against UBC. Their all-time University Cup record against the other participating schools is 6-0 against Saskatchewan, 4-1 against Western, 2-0 against Acadia, 2-0 against Saint Mary's, 1-1 against Guelph, and 1-0 against Ottawa. 

- Next season the University Cup will head to Charlottetown, PEI.

Harvey Takes Weekly Award

Goaltender Samuel Harvey has been named the UNB Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week after backstopping the Reds to a 3rd consecutive AUS championship this past week.

The freshman followed up an impressive rookie season with an even better playoff, going 4-1 with a 1.21 GAA and a 0.946 save percentage on route to being named MVP. He was especially brilliant during the most important games of the year as he gave up only three goals on 73 shots during the three game series victory over the Acadia Axemen.

After winning a Memorial Cup as a member of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies at the Scotiabank Centre last season, Harvey will look to replicate that feat this weekend as the Reds head to Halifax for the University Cup. They open the tournament at 2PM on Friday afternoon against the UBC Thunderbirds.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

University Cup Seeds/Schedule Announced

The seedings and quarter-final match-ups for the upcoming 2020 University Cup have been announced and the University of New Brunswick Reds have been deemed the team to beat, entering the tournament as the top seed.

Although many predicted UNB would face the OUA bronze medal-winning Western Mustangs in their first game, the Reds will instead meet the Canada West runner-up, and #8 seeded, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in their opening game on Friday afternoon. The rest of the schedule looks like this (all times are AST):

THURSDAY, MARCH 12th

2PM - #2 Saskatchewan Huskies vs. #7 Western Mustangs
7PM - #3 Guelph Gryphons vs. #6 Saint Mary's Huskies

FRIDAY, MARCH 13th

2PM - #1 UNB Reds vs #8 UBC Thunderbirds
7PM - #4 Ottawa Gee-Gees vs #5 Acadia Axemen

SATURDAY, MARCH 14th

2PM - Semi-Final #1 (Thursday Winners)
7PM - Semi-Final #2 (Friday Winners)

SUNDAY

2PM - Bronze Medal Game
7PM - Gold Medal Game

Unfortunately, none of the games will be broadcast on television this year. Instead, all games will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, CBC Gem, and the CBC Sports App.

Tournament passes are now available online. Single game tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

University Cup Field Set

The Western Mustangs kept their unlikely postseason run alive this afternoon with a 5-2 victory over the Concordia Stingers in the OUA bronze medal game.

With the victory the Mustangs - who finished 8th in the OUA West division with an 11-13-4 record this season - also earn the 8th, and final, berth at next week's University Cup in Halifax. They will most likely draw the #1 ranked and defending champion UNB Reds in their opening game at the tournament.

The OUA Champion will be determined tonight as the Guelph Gryphons host the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the 109th Queen's Cup.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Reds Get It Done

(Photo credit - UNB Athletics Twitter)

The road to the 2020 University Cup will go through the defending champions.

The University of New Brunswick Reds captured their third straight AUS title with a 5-1 victory over the Acadia Axemen before a sold-out crowd in the deciding game of the AUS Final tonight at the Aitken Centre. The win almost certainly ensures UNB will enter next week's University Cup as the number one seed and the team to beat.

It was a tight-checking and tentative first period as both teams seemed to be feeling out the other and weary of making a costly mistake. The Reds out-shot the Axemen 9-6 over the scoreless opening twenty minutes as neither side was able to generate much in the way of offense.

UNB stormed out of the gate in the 2nd period and started to assert control of the game. They were rewarded at the 2:51 mark when an extended shift in the offensive zone ultimately led to the puck coming out from behind the net to Oliver Cooper (Dove-McFalls, Rassell), who was all alone in the slot. Cooper fired a wrist shot that beat Axemen goaltender Logan Flodell, bringing the sold-out crowd to its feet with the game's opening goal. After a pair of unsuccessful power plays mid-way through the period the Reds were able to extend their lead at 15:48. Alexandre Goulet (Pomerleau, Simpson), who somehow missed a wide open net earlier in the period after Flodell had lost track of the puck, got the puck out near the blue-line and let a shot go that eluded traffic in front and found the back of the net. UNB would take the 2-0 lead into the final period.

Down to their final twenty minutes of the series, the Axemen came out strong in the 3rd period as they not only limited the Reds to a single shot over the first eight minutes, but also got back into the game when Ross MacDougall's point shot along the ice beat Samuel Harvey, ending Harvey's shut-out streak at 145 minutes. The goal, which came at the 1:08 mark, quieted the crowd and created some nervous energy in the building. This was heightened a few shifts later when the Axemen came perilously close to tying the game on a goalmouth scramble. The Reds power play would again get back to back chances - their 4th and 5th straight power play of the night - to extend their lead, but once again it came up empty. They were finally able to add some insurance at 14:27 with Goulet (Pomerleau, Boucher) hammering home a one-timer. Only five seconds later the Axemen got an opportunity to get that one back when they were given a power play of their own. As the man advantage ticked down Acadia elected to pull Flodell for an extra attacker, however this quickly backfired when Mark Simpson (McIvor) won a race for a loose puck and guided the puck into the empty net. The back-breaking goal gave the Reds a 4-1 lead with 3:37 remaining. After the goal frustrations started to boil over for the Axemen as Cristiano Digiacinto, who is no stranger to playing on the edge, cross-checked Connor Hall. The cheap-shot cost the Axemen's leading scorer two minutes in the penalty box and the Reds power play finally came through when Goulet (Simpson) pounced on a rebound to complete his hat-trick and make it 5-1 at 16:52. That's how the game would end as UNB held a 14-8 shot advantage in the period.

- After a one game absence Ben Hawerchuk was back in the line-up, replacing James McEwan, and Noah Carroll saw his first postseason action, taking the spot of Olivier LeBlanc. Benjamin Gagne and Dylan Seitz both remained out.

- Shots ended up 44-19 for UNB.

- The Reds got the late power play goal and were 1 for 6 on the night, but for the most part it still looked disorganized and sloppy. The Axemen went 0 for 2 on the night and were 0 for the series with the man advantage.

- UNB won 51 out of 88 face-offs. Mark Simpson (15 out of 20) was the top performer.

- Alexandre Goulet and Ross MacDougall were named the player of the game for their respective teams.

- Attendance was 3374.

- Samuel Harvey was named the AUS Playoff MVP. He was 4-1 with a league-leading 1.21 GAA and 0.946 during the postseason. He was at his best with UNB's back to the wall as he only gave up one goal on 55 shots over the last two elimination games.

- A strong MVP case could have also been made for both Stephen Anderson (2 goals, 7 assists) and Alexandre Goulet (9 goals, including two hat-tricks, +6).

- This is the first time since Gardiner MacDougall's very first playoff series at UNB - the 2001 quarter-finals - that the Reds rallied to win a series. Coincidentally, that series was also against Acadia. UNB lost the first game 5-1 in on the road before taking game two (4-3) and three (3-1) on home ice.

- The four goal victory is UNB's largest in a deciding game since 2006 when they beat St. FX 9-3 in game three of the quarter-finals.

- With the Reds entering the University Cup as the number one seed they will likely face the OUA bronze medalist in their opening game. That team will be determined tomorrow afternoon when the Western Mustangs host the Concordia Stingers.

- For Acadia, they will probably be seeded fifth and face the OUA runner-up in their first game, which has already been announced as taking place on Friday night. The OUA Championship will be determined tomorrow night as the Guelph Gryphons host the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the Queen's Cup.

- Up next for UNB is the 2020 University Cup in Halifax. The on-ice action gets underway at 2PM on Thursday. The seedings and full schedule are usually announced on Sunday so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

UNB In Deciding Games

The 2020 AUS champion will be crowned tomorrow night at the Aitken Centre as the University of New Brunswick Reds and Acadia Axemen play a third and deciding game to determine conference supremacy. 

This will be the 18th winner-take-all game UNB has participated in since 1984. Here is the full list:

1984 (semi-finals) - defeated Acadia 8-2 at home
1990 (quarter-finals) - lost to UPEI 6-2 at home
1994 (semi-finals) - defeated Moncton 8-4 at home
1995 (quarter-finals) - lost to St. Thomas 9-3 at home
1996 (quarter-finals) - lost to UPEI 1-0 at home
1998 (quarter-finals) - defeated UPEI 5-4 at home
1998 (finals) - defeated Acadia 3-2 at home
1999 (quarter-finals) - lost to Moncton 5-4 OT2 at home
2000 (semi-finals) - defeated St. Thomas 7-0 on the road
2001 (quarter-finals) - defeated Acadia 3-1 at home
2001 (semi-finals) - lost to St. FX 5-4 OT2 on the road
2003 (semi-finals) - defeated St. Thomas 4-1 on the road
2006 (quarter-finals) - defeated St. FX 9-3 at home
2009 (finals) - lost to Saint Mary's 5-1 at home
2011 (finals) - defeated St. FX 5-4 OT at home
2013 (finals) - defeated Saint Mary's 2-0 at home
2015 (semi-finals) - defeated St. FX 6-3 at home

- UNB is 11-6 all-time in deciding games.

- 14 of the previous 17 games have been played on home ice. They are 9-5 in those games.

- This will be the 5th time they have played a winner-take-all game for the AUS Championship. They have won three of the previous four games with all of them occurring at the AUC.

- They have won all three previous games against Acadia - in 1984 (semi-finals), 1998 (finals), and 2001 (quarter-finals). 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Reds Stave Off Elimination

There will be one final game played at the Aitken Centre this season.

With their backs to the wall, Samuel Harvey stopped all 36 shots he faced and the offense scored twice in each period as the University of New Brunswick Reds silenced a sell-out crowd in Wolfville with a 6-0 victory over the Acadia Axemen tonight in game two of the AUS Final. The championship will now come down to game three, which takes place on Friday night back in Fredericton.

- The Reds did exactly what they needed to do in the 1st period by scoring early in the game and then adding another before the end of the frame to take the energy out of the building. Samuel Dove McFalls (Watling, Anderson)0 opened the scoring at the 3:52 mark when Patrick Watling drove to the net and got pushed into Logan Flodell. The puck popped out into the slot and Dove-McFalls found the empty net before Flodell could get back to his feet. UNB would extend the lead at 12:28. Moments after failing once again to score with an extended two man advantage - 1:57 this time - Mark Rassell (Boucher, Murphy) jumped on a rebound in front and swept it under Flodell. While the goal was technically an even strength goal, neither penalized player had gotten back into the play yet. The Reds would take the 2-0 lead into the dressing room after out-shooting Acadia 13-11 in the period.

- The 2nd period was controlled basically from start to finish by Acadia and they held a 16-6 shot advantage over the twenty minutes. However, Samuel Harvey and the Reds penalty killers - who had to kill a 1:57 two man disadvantage of their own - were huge in keeping the buzzing Axemen off the board. To make matters worse for Acadia, despite their limited chances the Reds were able to score twice more, with both goals the result of breaks they couldn't take advantage of on Monday. At 7:12 Stephen Anderson forced an Axemen defender to make an ill-advised pass right to Patrick Watling in front of the net. Watling worked the puck from his left to right before tucking the puck around Flodell's left leg. Then, at 13:15, Kris Bennett's hard dump-in into the left corner came off the boards and directly to Anderson. His shot was stopped, but the rebound found the stick of a charging Tyler Boland and the AUS scoring champion was able to get just enough of the puck to re-direct it in.

- The Reds power play finally came to life in the 3rd period, accounting for both goals. At 10:16 Matt Murphy (Gatenby, Anderson) picked the far top corner to make it 5-0 and then Alexandre Goulet hammered home a Oliver Cooper pass at 18:41 to cap the scoring on the night. Shots in the period were 13-9 for UNB.

- UNB made one line-up change as James McEwan dressed in place of Ben Hawerchuk.

- Shots in the game were 36-32 for Acadia. It is the first time all year the Reds have been out-shot and the first time since October 19th, 2018 they were out-shot by an AUS team, a span of 66 games.

- As mentioned, Samuel Harvey was an absolute rock in net tonight, preventing the Axemen from getting any momentum with numerous clutch stops.

- The Axemen won 37 out of 70 face-offs. Tyler Boland (12 out of 17) had the best night of anyone on UNB.

- While UNB's power play got off the schneid, scoring on their last two opportunities to finish 2 for 5, the Axemen continue to struggle with the man advantage, going 0 for 7 on the night.  They are now 0 for 13 in the series.

- Harvey, Cristiano Digiacinto, and Murphy were the game's three stars.

- A sell-out crowd of 2362 was on hand.

- Hockey is a funny game. The Reds out-shoot the Axemen 53-19 in game one and lose and then get out-shot 36-32 and win. The difference being tonight they had the locked in goaltender, got some breaks and puck luck, and won the special teams battle.

- UNB will be playing in their first winner-take-all AUS playoff game since defeating St. FX 6-3 in game five of the 2015 semi-finals.

- It will be their first time playing a winner-take-all game in the AUS Final since 2013. They defeated Saint Mary's 2-0 in game three that season to claim their 3rd straight AUS title.

- In the consolation series, Saint Mary’s clinched their berth at the University Cup with a 4-3 triple overtime win in Moncton. It gives the Huskies a two game sweep over the Aigles Bleus.

- Game three goes Friday night at 7PM. Get your tickets early as it should be close to a sell-out. If you can't make it to the AUC, watch live at AUStv.ca.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

U Sports AUS/OUA Playoff Schedule

While the Saskatchewan Huskies claimed the Canada West crown last weekend with a two game sweep of the UBC Thunderbirds, there is still lots to be settled as both the AUS and OUA championship and 3rd place finishers - which will determined the final two University Cup berth - are still up for grabs. Here are the schedules for the rest of the U Sports playoffs:


ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT
- Three berths at University Cup: Host (Acadia) + Finalist (UNB) + Consolation Winner (SMU/Moncton)

FINAL
#1 UNB Reds (26-4-0) vs. #2 Acadia Axemen (19-9-2)

Game 1 - Monday, March 2nd at UNB
Game 2 - Wednesday, March 4th at Acadia
Game 3 - Friday, March 6th at UNB (if necessary)

CONSOLATION
#3 Saint Mary's Huskies (17-12-1) vs. #4 Moncton Aigles Bleus (13-11-6)

Game 1 - Monday, March 2nd at Saint Mary's
Game 2 - Wednesday, March 4th at Moncton
Game 3 - Friday, March 6th at Saint Mary's (if necessary)

ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
- Three berths at University Cup: OUA East Winner (Ottawa) + OUA West Winner (Guelph) + Bronze Medal Winner (Concordia/Western)

QUEEN'S CUP
#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (17-7-4) at #3 Guelph Gryphons (17-6-5)

Saturday, March 7th (8PM AST)

OUA WEST
#5 Concordia Stingers (13-10-5) at #8 Western Mustangs (11-13-4)

Saturday, March 7th (4PM AST)


U Sports Playoff Update: Huskies Take CW, Queen's Cup Set

With another week of U Sports playoff action in the books, the field for the University Cup is beginning to come into focus. Out west the Saskatchewan Huskies swept the UBC Thunderbirds to capture their first Canada West championship since 2016. Meanwhile, in the OUA the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Guelph Gryphons advanced to the Queen's Cup, earning a berth at the University Cup in the process. The rest of the field, as well as the seedings, will be determined this week as both the AUS and OUA playoffs conclude.

NOTE: Both AUS series' are best 2-of-3, the Queen's Cup and OUA Bronze Medal are winner-take-all

ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT
- Three berths at University Cup: Host (Acadia) + Finalist (UNB) + Consolation Winner (SMU/Moncton)

#2 Acadia Axemen (19-9-2) lead #1 UNB Reds (26-4-0) 1 game to 0 (3-1)

#3 Saint Mary's Huskies lead #4 Moncton Aigles Bleus 1 game to 0 (4-2)


ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
- Three berths at University Cup: OUA East Chmapion (Ottawa) + OUA West Champion (Guelph) + Bronze Medal Winner (Concordia/Western)

OUA EAST

#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (17-7-4) defeated #5 Concordia Stingers (13-10-5) 2 games to 0 (3-2, 7-2)

OUA WEST

#3 Guelph Gryphons (17-6-5) defeated #8 Western Mustangs (11-13-4) 2 games to 1 (2-1 OT, 3-4, 4-3)

CANADA WEST
- Two berths at University Cup: Saskatchewan (Champion) + UBC (Runner-Up)

#2 Saskatchewan Huskies (22-4-2) defeated #5 UBC Thunderbirds (9-14-5) 2 games to 0 (3-2, 3-1)

Monday, March 2, 2020

Reds On The Ropes

A 52 save performance from AUS MVP Logan Flodell, at least three hit posts, some puck luck, and a power outage by the Reds usually-explosive power play added up to a 3-1 victory for the visiting Acadia Axemen in game one of the best 2-of-3 AUS Final tonight at the AUC. The victory - Acadia's first at the Aitken Centre since the fall of 2015 - means they can clinch the AUS Championship Wednesday night in Wolfville.

- The Axemen jumped out to a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes thanks to goals by Cristiano Digiacinto at 5:53 and Rodney Southam, while shorthanded, at 15:10.

- Matthew Boucher (Bennett, Boland) finally got UNB on the board at the 12:09 mark of the second period with a snap shot off the post and in, cutting the lead to 2-1.

- That's how the game would stand until Alexander Lepkowksi found an empty net with 80 seconds remaining, sealing the win.

- Shots in the game were 53-19 for UNB with period totals of 17-4, 15-11, and 21-4.

- The Reds went with their usual line-up as Noah Carroll, Benjamin Gagne, Jame McEwan, and Dylan Seitz were the scratches.

- As mentioned, the Reds power play was shut down all night and was probably the biggest factor in the loss. UNB went 0 for 8 with the man advantage, which included over two and a half minutes of 5-on-3 time. They are now 3 for 28 on the power play against Acadia this season.

- The Axemen were 0 for 6 on the power play.

- UNB won 52 out of 81 face-offs with both Mark Simpson and Tyler Boland winning 15 out of 21.

- Attendance was 3124.

- Flodell and Boucher were the players of the game.

- After giving up two goals on the first six shots he faced, Samuel Harvey settled down and kept his team in it.

- The loss snaps UNB's AUS playoff winning streak at 13 games.

- In game one of the consolation series, Saint Mary's doubled up Moncton 4-2 in Halifax. That series resumes Wednesday night in Moncton.

- Game two of this series also takes place on Wednesday with the Axemen looking to claim their first AUS Championship since the 2014-2015 season. Game time is 7PM.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

AUS Final: Preview, Prediction, Poll

The U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds will be gunning for their third consecutive AUS championship when they face in the AUS #2 ranked Acadia Axemen in the best 2-of-3 AUS Final beginning Monday in Fredericton. The series will shift to Wolfville for game 2 on Wednesday night before returning to the AUC for game 3 on Friday, if necessary. All games are scheduled for a 7PM puck drop.

This will mark the 7th time these two teams have met in the playoffs since Gardiner MacDougall became head coach. The Reds won a quarter-final series in three games in 2001 before the Axemen swept UNB in back to back years in 2005 and 2006, the latter of which was a three game sweep in the AUS Final. The last three series have been all UNB, however, with a three game semi-final sweep in 2009, a three games to one semi-final victory in 2011, and a two game sweep in the 2015 AUS Final, which is the last time these two teams met in the playoffs.

The 2019-2020 edition of the Axemen rebounded from a tough season last year to prove to be a formidable opponent for much of the season. They began the year 9-1-0 and entered the Christmas break in 1st place with a 14-4-0 record, which they eventually improved to 17-4-0. However, as they have been prone to do in recent years, they stumbled down the stretch, going 2-5-2 to end up with a record of 19-9-2, 12 points behind the league-leading Reds. It was still enough to finish in second place and earn a first round playoff bye. Although they were guaranteed a spot at the University Cup as the tournament host, they earned their way by knocking off the Saint Mary's Huskies in four games.

The Axemen were especially tough on UNB this season, handing the Reds two of their four losses. The season series was incredibly even with both teams winning a two goal game in Wolfville (6-4 for Acadia on September 28th and 4-2 for UNB on January 31st) and a one goal game on home ice (a last minute Tyler Boland goal lifted the Reds to a 4-3 win at the AUC on November 9th while the Axemen answered with a 3-2 victory three weeks later). The only thing separating the two was UNB's 2-1 shoot-out win in Fredericton on January 9th in what was the most entertaining game on the season. Overall, each team scored 15 goals in the five games. This was the fewest goals UNB scored and the most they allowed against any opponent this season.

Offensively this season, Acadia ranked 3rd in the conference in goals scored (3.77 per game) and shots on goal (33.3 per game) and 4th on the power play (20.9%, although they received the second fewest opportunities in the league). Against UNB they only averaged 3.00 goals per game and 25 shots per game, but their power play clicked at 24% (6 for 25).

Individually, the Axemen boast a fairly balanced attack with 13 players registering double digit points. They were led by Cristiano Digiacinto, who tied for the league lead with 20 goals and was 8th in scoring with 37 points. Other players to watch include former AUS scoring champion Stephen Haroer (29 points in 23 games), second team all-star defenceman Garrett McFadden (28 points), Mason McCarty (20 points), Maurizio Colella (18 points), and Jack Flaman and Owen MacDonald (10 goals each). They will be without Jordy Stallard (23 points in 25 games), however, as head coach Darren Burns has already ruled him out for the series.

Much like Moncton, the strength of the Axemen comes in goal. Logan Flodell's league leading 16 wins and 0.918 save percentage, to go along with a 2.79 GAA (3rd), in over 1500 minutes in goal earned him AUS MVP honours this season as he was the biggest reason for their dramatic turnaround. Despite being out-shot on the season and giving up almost 34 shots per game, Acadia's 0.916 save percentage was best in the league and their 85 goals allowed placed behind only UNB's 56. Their penalty killing was 3rd at 82.4% on the season and was especially effective against UNB, holding the Reds number one ranked power play to three goals on 20 opportunities.

Overall, it is hard to bet against the Reds right now. While Acadia has been inconsistent since the beginning of the second half, UNB has been rolling to the tune of a current 18 game winning streak. Flodell may have had an outstanding season, and is a very deserving MVP, but if the Reds continue to pile up 35-40 shots per game, they are bound to score a few. On the flip side, UNB's defence limits shots on goal better than any team in the country, and their goaltending duo of Samuel Harvey/Rylan Parenteau are no slouches themselves, posting the second best save percentage in the AUS. During the five regular season meetings the great equalizer were the special teams, which Acadia held the advantage. It would be surprising to see that trend holding up into this series. Also, expect home ice advantage to be especially crucial in this series. Much has been made about UNB's struggles in Wolfville over the last decade, but it should be noted that the Reds are 32-0-3 at the AUC against the Axemen since the beginning of the 2006-2007 season.

PREDICTION: UNB in 3. The home team wins every game, giving the Reds their first AUS title on home-ice since 2013 and the #1 seed at the University Cup.

POLL: Who do you got?


Who wins?

UNB in 2
UNB in 3
Acadia
Created with QuizMaker

Thursday, February 27, 2020

UNB In The AUS Final

Another season. Another AUS Final appearance for the University of New Brunswick Reds.

For the 6th straight year - and 9th time in ten seasons - the Reds will be participating in the conference final thanks to a three game sweep of the Moncton Aigles Bleus in the semi-finals.

The best 2-of-3 AUS Final kicks off Monday night at the AUC against the second place Acadia Axemen, who dispatched Saint Mary's in four game in the other semi-final. The series shifts to Wolfville for game two on Wednesday night before returning to Fredericton for game three, if necessary, on Friday. Saint Mary's and Moncton will follow a similar schedule for their consolation series, which will determine the AUS' third berth at next month's University Cup.

Overall, this will mark UNB's 20th appearance in the conference championship since 1984.

Here is how they have fared in those series:

1984 - Defeated Moncton 2 games to 0
1993 - Lost to Acadia 2 games to 0
1994 - Lost to Acadia 2 games to 0
1997 - Defeated Acadia 2 games to 0
1998 - Defeated Acadia 2 games to 1
2000 - Defeated Acadia 3 games to 1
2003 - Defeated St. FX 3 games to 1 
2006 - Lost to Acadia 3 games to 0
2007 - Lost to Moncton 2 games to 0
2008 - Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 0
2009 - Lost to Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2011 - Defeated St. FX 3 games to 2
2012 - Defeated Moncton 3 games to 0
2013 - Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2015 - Defeated Acadia 2 games to 0
2016 - Lost to St. FX 2 games to 0
2017 - Lost to St. FX 2 game to 0
2018 - Defeated St. FX 2 games to 0
2019 - Defeated St. FX 2 games to 0

- UNB will be looking for their 17th AUS Championship. In addition to the 12 mentioned above, they also captured the title in 1934, 1960, 1962, and 1964.

- Only St. FX (26) have won more conference titles in history.

- This is the longest streak of finals appearances in school history.

- The Reds have now reached 13 out of the last 15 AUS Finals. The only exceptions being 2010 and 2014.

- Since current head coach Gardiner MacDougall took the reigns before the 2000-2001 season, UNB have made the final 14 times in 20 years. They have won eight AUS titles under his watch.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

U Sports 3rd Round Schedules

With the Acadia Axemen defeating Saint Mary's 4-2 last night in Halifax to take their semi-final series 3 games to 1, the second round of playoffs are now complete in each conference. Here are the schedules for all the conference/division finals, which get underway tomorrow night in Ontario:

NOTE: All series are best 2-of-3

ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT
- Three berths at University Cup (Acadia + UNB + SMU/Moncton Winner)

FINAL
#1 UNB Reds (26-4-0) vs. #2 Acadia Axemen (19-9-2)

Game 1 - Monday, March 2nd at UNB
Game 2 - Wednesday, March 4th at Acadia
Game 3 - Friday, March 6th at UNB (if necessary)

CONSOLATION
#3 Saint Mary's Huskies (17-12-1) vs. #4 Moncton Aigles Bleus (13-11-6)

Game 1 - Monday, March 2nd at Saint Mary's
Game 2 - Wednesday, March 4th at Moncton
Game 3 - Friday, March 6th at Saint Mary's (if necessary)

ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
- Three berths at University Cup (Ottawa/Concordia Winner + Guelph/Western Winner + Bronze Medal Winner)

OUA EAST
#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (17-7-4) vs. #5 Concordia Stingers (13-10-5)

Game 1 - Thursday, February 27th at Ottawa
Game 2 - Saturday, February 29th at Concordia
Game 3 - Sunday, March 1st at Ottawa (if necessary)

OUA WEST
#3 Guelph Gryphons (17-6-5) vs. #8 Western Mustangs (11-13-4)

Game 1 - Thursday, February 27th at Guelph
Game 2 - Saturday, February 29th at Western
Game 3 - Sunday, March 1st at Guelph (if necessary)

CANADA WEST
- Two berths at University Cup (Saskatchewan + UBC)

#2 Saskatchewan Huskies (22-4-2) vs. #5 UBC Thunderbirds (9-14-5)

Game 1 - Friday, February 28th at Saskatchewan
Game 2 - Saturday, February 29th 1st at Saskatchewan
Game 3 - Sunday, March 1st at Saskatchewan (if necessary)

U Sports Top Ten (#19): Big Changes After Upset-Filled Week

The latest edition of the men's hockey rankings saw significant changes after a number of top teams were eliminated from their conference playoffs.

The only constant from last week was the University of New Brunswick (1935.49 ELO points) and University of Saskatchewan (1825.69) holding down the top two spots. The remaining eight positions are made up of the eight teams left in contention for a University Cup berth, which means many teams are ranked higher than they have been in quite some time. It also means that Alberta's streak of 169 straight weeks being ranked (since 2012) and Carleton's 24 week run come to an end.

The Guelph Gryphons (1724.69) are ranked third, their highest ranking since the 2014-2015 season, and Ottawa (1660.20) moves up from 10th to 4th. We then see five previously unranked teams in Concordia (1642.77, ranked 5th for the first time since 1999-2000), Acadia (1638.03), Western (1583.08, in the top ten for only the second time in four years), Moncton (1546.66, tied for their highest ranking since being 7th for one week in 2013-2014), and British Columbia (1533.23, ranked for only the 3rd time in four years). Saint Mary's (1528.32) round out the rankings by dropping one spot to 10th.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

U Sports Playoff Update: Birds Stun Bears

This past weekend saw the conclusion of another round of playoffs in both the OUA and Canada West - and it will go down as one of the wildest weekends in U Sports men's hockey history. We saw both top seeds in the OUA East - #1 Carleton (despite winning the longest overtime game in OUA history in game 1) and #2 UQTR - get eliminated as well as the OUA West's #2 seed Ryerson, who got knocked off by the #8 seeded Western in overtime in game 3.

Of course, those all pale in comparison to what happened in Edmonton where the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds pulled off the biggest playoff upset since 2010, shocking the country by eliminating the Alberta Golden Bears in three games. Not only did the victory give UBC a berth in the Canada West final and guarantee them a spot in the University Cup for the first time in 42 years, but it also ensured that Alberta will miss the tournament for the first time since 2012.

The series also produced on of the best/most clutch saves you will ever see. With the T-Birds holding on to a 2-1 lead with less three minutes remaining in the 3rd and deciding game, Rylan Toth made this save for the ages off of the Bears Tyler Soy...


ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT
- Three berths at University Cup (Acadia + Champion + Runner-Up or Acadia + Finalist + Bronze Medal Winner)

#1 UNB Reds (26-4-0) defeated #4 Moncton Aigles Bleus 3 games to 0 (7-2, 7-3, 4-1)

#2 Acadia Axemen (19-9-2) lead #3 Saint Mary's Huskies 2 games to 1 (4-1, 5-2, 2-6)

ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
- Three berths at University Cup (OUA East Winner + OUA West Winner + Bronze Medal Winner)

OUA EAST

#5 Concordia Stingers (13-10-5) defeated #1 Carleton Ravens (24-3-1) 2 games to 0 (4-3 OT3, 3-1)

#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (17-7-4) defeated #2 UQTR Patriotes (19-6-3) 2 games to 1 (1-2, 5-3, 4-2)

OUA WEST

#8 Western Mustangs (11-13-4) defeated #2 Ryerson Rams (20-5-3) 2 games to 1 (1-4, 5-2, 3-2 OT)

#3 Guelph Gryphons (17-6-5) defeated #5 Brock Badgers (14-12-2) 2 games to 0 (3-2, 2-1 OT)

CANADA WEST
- Two berths at University Cup (Champion + Runner-Up)

#5 UBC Thunderbirds (9-14-5) defeated #1 Alberta Golden Bears (23-5-0) 2 games to 1 (3-2 OT, 1-6, 2-1)

#2 Saskatchewan Huskies (22-4-2) defeated #3 Calgary Dinos (18-7-3) 2 games to 0 (2-1, 5-4 OT2)

MacDougall Gets Hall Call

The New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame has announced that University of New Brunswick Reds men's hockey head coach Gardiner MacDougall will be among the 2020 inductees this June.


This would seem to be a long overdue honour for MacDougall, who has guided the Reds hockey program to unprecedented heights during his two decade tenure. This includes seven national championships and the most victories in AUS history.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Reds Book UCup Ticket

The top seeded University of New Brunswick Reds earned a berth in next month’s University Cup in Halifax after completing a three game sweep of the #4 Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus with a 4-1 victory in a physical, chippy affair tonight in Moncton. The Reds now await the winner of the other semi-final series between University Cup host #2 Acadia and #3 Saint Mary’s to see who they play in the best 2-of-3 AUS Final. Meanwhile, the Aigles Bleus will hope to play in a consolation series against Saint Mary’s to determine the AUS’ third berth at Nationals.

Samuel Harvey and Etienne Montpetit were both sharp in their respective nets in an entertaining 1st period, with each goaltender kicking out all 11 shots they faced. The Reds were able to break the scoreless tie early in the 2nd period when Stephen Anderson slid a pass over to Tyler Boland on the rush. The league's leading scorer tucked it between a small opening between Montpetit's out-stretched left leg and the post to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at the 3:22 mark. Patrick Watling picked up the secondary assist on the game's opening goal. The Aigles Bleus struck for the equalizer just under ten minutes later as Joey Richard came down the right side and beat Harvey cleanly with a big slap shot at 13:19. However, as they often do, the Reds quickly responded, restoring the lead at the 15:27 mark. Mark Rassell had his shot blocked in the slot by a defender, but Oliver Cooper was right there to jump on the loose puck and fire a wrist shot in to the back of the net. The Reds would take the 2-1 lead into the final period as they out-shot Moncton 13-6 in the period.

The ice continued to tilt more and more in UNB's favour over the final twenty minutes. The Reds held a 21-3 shots advantage - with all three of Moncton's shots coming from outside the offensive zone - and added a pair of goals to put the game - and series - away. An early power play paid almost immediate dividends as Anderson (Watling, Gatenby) put a perfectly placed shot in to the far top corner at 1:24 for a big insurance goal. They added a fourth goal at 14:03 when Tristan Pomerleau (Boucher, Bennett) came in off the point and re-directed a beautiful pass through traffic from Boucher past Montpetit. That was more than enough for Harvey and the defence as they completely neutralized and locked down the Aigles Bleus for most of the final forty minutes of play.

- Shots in the game were 45-20.

- The Reds went with the same line-up as the first two games. Noah Carroll, Benjamin Gagne, Jame McEwan, and Dylan Seitz were all scratched.

- Connor Hall left the game in the 1st period and never returned after suffering an apparent knee injury.

- Harvey was great in net in this one, especially during the first period when Moncton came out strong in front of their home fans.

- UNB was 1 for 3 on the power play while the Aigles Bleus went 0 for 5.

- Anderson was named the player of the game.

- The Reds won only 31 out of 66 face-offs. Samuel Dove-McFalls was the only centre over 50% with 12 wins on 23 draws.

- Attendance was 802.

- After the game head coach Gardiner MacDougall, Stephen Anderson, and Tyler Boland all gave their thoughts on the game and series as well as what lies ahead for the team.


- With the victory UNB advances to their 6th straight AUS Final, 9th in the last ten seasons, and 13th in the last 15 seasons. The only two seasons during that span where they didn't make it were 2010 and 2014.

- They have also earned their 6th consecutive trip to the University Cup, which is a school-record.

- This is UNB's 13th straight AUS playoff win, dating back to a game 2 loss against St. FX in 2017.

- For those of you curious, you can purchase University Cup tickets here. The event is taking place at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax from March 12-15.

- The Reds will now wait to see who they face in the final. The Saint Mary's Huskies stayed alive  with a 6-2 home win over the Acadia Axemen. Game 4 of that series goes Tuesday night in Halifax with Acadia holding a 2-1 series lead.

- UNB will host game 1 of the best 2-of-3 AUS Final on Monday, March 2nd. Game time is scheduled for 7PM.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

UNB Takes Game 2

It was a better effort for the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus in game two of their best 3-of-5 AUS semi-final series, but the result was the same as the University of New Brunswick Reds offense continued to roll in a 7-3 victory tonight at the AUC. UNB held serve on home ice, taking a commanding 2-0 series lead with the scene now shifting to Moncton.

It was a similar start to the previous night as neither side had much in the way of scoring chances, with the exception of a nice toe save by Rylan Parenteau in the opening minutes. The game would remain scoreless until the 16:00 mark when Tyler Boland (Watling, Anderson) picked up the puck during a scramble in front of Aigles Bleus goaltender Etienne Montpetit and put it home. The opening goal opened the floodgates for the Reds as they scored two more goals in the next 32 seconds. At 16:11 Alexandre Goulet (Gatenby, Pomerleau) spun around a defender at the Moncton bench to race in all alone on Montpetit. Goulet's nifty stickhandling opened up the goaltender's legs and he slid the puck five-hole. Just 21 seconds later it was Goulet (Hawerchuk, Murphy) again. This time he split the defence before going forehand to backhand to put the puck between Montpetit's legs, making it 3-0 with his 5th goal in four playoff periods. The wild flurry would be the only scoring in the period as UNB out-shot Moncton 13-7.

The Reds held a 21-4 shot advantage in the second period, but it was the visitors scoring the lone goal. Defenceman Olivier Desjardins sneaked in from the point and tapped the puck in at the backdoor at 14:31 to draw Moncton back within two.

After being held scoreless in the second period despite peppering Montpetit with 21 shots, UNB converted their first shot of the 3rd period. Beginning the period with a power play, Stephen Anderson (Boland, Bennett) put a shot from the hash marks into the top right corner to make it 4-1 36 seconds into the frame. The Aigles Bleus answered just over two minutes later with a power play marker of their own, although it appeared the referees missed an offside call moments prior to Vincent Deslauriers goal. The Reds quickly put the non-call behind them as Kris Bennett (Simpson, Boucher) bulldozed around Montpetit to swipe a loose puck sitting in the crease into the open net. The goal came at 3:29, restoring UNB's three goal lead only 40 seconds after Moncton had made it 4-2. The goals kept coming as Connor Hall (Watling, Anderson) put a long wrist shot past a screened Montpetit for his first career AUS playoff goal at 6:46, which pushed the lead to 6-2. A Bennett (Gatenby, Boland) power play goal at 12:03 and Deslaurier's second of the night at 14:04 rounded out the scoring on the night. Shots in the period were 10-9 for the Reds.

- UNB went with their usual line-up, meaning Noah Carroll, Benjamin Gagne, James McEwan, and Dylan Seitz were the scratches.

- Shots were 44-20 for the Reds.

- Each team had three power play opportunities. UNB scored twice while Moncton connected once with the man advantage.

- The Reds won 38 out of 57 face-offs. Samuel Dove-McFalls was the busiest of all Reds players, taking 21 draws and winning 14 of them.

- Rylan Parenteau saw the first playoff action of his UNB career. He kicked out 17 out of the 20 shots sent his way to earn the victory.

- Bennett and Deslauriers were named the players of the game for their respective teams.

- Attendance was 2652.

- This was UNB's 17th consecutive victory.

- After scoring 12 goals in their first three games against Moncton this season, the Reds have hit the back of the net 29 times in their last four meetings.

- This is the first time UNB has scored at least seven goals in back to back playoff games since doing it three times in a row in the 1997 playoffs.

- The Reds will look to wrap up the series on Monday night in Moncton. Game time is 7PM.

- The other semi-final series between Acadia and Saint Mary's resumes tomorrow night in Wolfville with the Axemen looking to go up 2-0. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Goulet Leads Reds In Series Opener

Alexandre Goulet fired a hat-trick and the top seeded University of New Brunswick Reds opened their playoffs with a convimcing 7-2 victory over the visiting Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus tonight at the AUC. UNB takes a 1-0 lead in the best 3-of-5 semi-final series.

It was a slow opening few minutes with only a couple of shots on net combined and no really good scoring chances. The Reds then broke through 5:10 into the game on their first quality opportunity. A series of short passes in the Moncton zone led to the puck finding its way to Matthew Boucher (Simpson, Bennet), who was all alone at the hash marks. Boucher buried a wrist shot short side on Aigle Bleus goaltender Etienne Montpetit to open the scoring. The 1-0 advantage would hold until the 12:53 mark when Patrick Watling (Boland, Murphy) slid a shot along the ice from the high slot that eluded traffic in front of the net and found an opening, giving UNB a 2-0. That's how the 1st period would end up as the Reds out-shot Moncton 12-5.

The Reds turned it up a notch in the 2nd period as they held an 18-56 shots advantage and scored four times to blow the game wide open. At 1:18 Matt Murphy (Dove-McFalls) joined the rush and got the puck in the left face-off circle, picking the top left corner to extend the lead to 3-0. The special teams then went to work to make it 4-0, except it was the penalty kill and not the power play getting the job done. Samuel Dove McFalls forced a turnover at the UNB blue-line and went in on a 2-on-1 rush with Goulet. Dove-McFalls lofted a soft area pass into the slot that Goulet was able to skate into and the 3rd year forward made no mistake snapping a shot past Montpetit's blocker. Marcus McIvor also picked up an assist on the shorthanded tally. Goulet (Hall, Gilmour) got his second of the night - and period - at 10:53 when he banged in a rebound at the side of the net. This would spell the end of the night for Montpetit, who surrendered five goals on 22 shots on the night. It only took 30 seconds for UNB to get their first against Alexi Thibaudeau with Dove-McFalls (Rassell, Cooper) doing the honours at 11:23 to make it a 6-0 game, which is how it would stand after 40 minutes.

The Aigles Bleus scored both early - Vincent Deslauriers finishing off a nice passing play at 0:48 to break Samuel Harvey's shut-out bid - and late - Maxime Sy-Cyr with a two man advantage at 18:41 - in the 3rd period. This was sandwiched around Goulet's third of the night, a 5-on-3 marker at 4:28. Shots in the period were 11-7 for UNB.

- Noah Carroll, Benjamin Gagne, Jame McEwan, and Dylan Seitz were the scratches.

- Shots on goal ended up 41-18.

- UNB went 1 for 3 on the power play. Moncton was 1 for 6.

- The Reds won 42 out of 68 face-offs on the night with Dove-McFalls (15 out of 22) doing his usual excellent work. Goulet (8 out of 11) also had a good night.

- Samuel Harvey made 16 saves in his AUS playoff debut.

- Goulet and Moncton's Joey Richard were named the player of the game for their respective teams 

- Attendance was 2297.

- This is UNB's 11th straight playoff win.

- Acadia got past Saint Mary's by a 4-1 score in the opening game of their series. Game 2 of that series goes Saturday night.

- Meanwhile, these two teams are back at it at the AUC tomorrow night for a 7PM start.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

UNB vs. Moncton: Preview, Prediction, Poll

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds begin defence of their back-to-back AUS Championships tomorrow night when they welcome the 4th place Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus to the AUC for game one of their best 3-of-5 semi-final series. Game two goes Friday night in Fredericton before the series shifts to Moncton for game three on Monday and game four, if necessary, on Tuesday. A potential game five would take place next Thursday back at the Aitken Centre. All games are scheduled for a 7PM start with the winner earning a berth at next month's University Cup in Halifax.

The Reds and Aigles Bleus are meeting in the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 AUS Final. By comparison, UNB has faced St. FX five times, Saint Mary's four times, UPEI three times, and Acadia once since last facing Moncton. Overall, this will only be the third time since Gardiner MacDougall became head coach the two teams will face off in postseason play. In 2006 UNB swept a semi-final series with 5-3 and 4-1 wins. Moncton returned the favour the next season in the AUS Final with a 4-2 win at home before clinching the title with a 3-2 overtime win at the AUC. Of course the Reds would get the last laugh that season when they defeated the Aigles Bleus 3-2 in overtime in the National Championship game in Moncton. In their last playoff meeting UNB swept the 2012 AUS Final with 8-3, 4-2, and 4-0 victories. 

Of course, none of those previous results have any bearing on this season. Moncton is riding high after following up a 13-11-6 regular season with their first playoff victory since 2013-2014 when they swept the St. FX X-Men in two straight close games. Although they have had a successful season thus far, they have struggled mightily against UNB in recent years. The Aigles Bleus lost all five games against the Reds this season - 4-0, 4-2, 4-1, 7-3, and 8-2 - and only have one shootout victory against UNB in their last 22 meetings. They have dropped their last 17 games at the AUC.

While the Aigles Bleus only found the back of the net 92 times this season - the second fewest in the league - and generated only 29.2 shots/game (also the second fewest in the league), they have one of the most dangerous lines in the conference, consisting of first team all-star Maxime St-Cyr (t-1st with 20 goals and t-4th with 40 points), 5th year veteran Robbie Graham (12 goals, 27 points, team-high +11) and Vincent Deslauriers (24 points in 28 games). They also received solid contributions from forwards Alexis Roy (20 points) and Joey Richard (17 points). On the back end they are led offensively by Danick Crete, who had 6 goals and 10 assists this season. However, they will be in tough to generate offense against a UNB team that once again led the conference in goals against average (1.86), shots allowed per game (20.7), and penalty killing (86.8%). The Reds also ranked 2nd in save percentage (0.910).

Without a doubt the strength of this Moncton team stands between the pipes where 2nd team all-star Etienne Monpetit played a league-high 29 games and 1698 minutes. Despite the work load, Monpetit had a 0.907 save percentage, which was good for 3rd in the conference, and the 4th best goals against average at 3.04. As a team the Aigles Bleus surrendered 98 goals this season, the 3rd fewest goals in the league. Monpetit will need to stand on his head to keep a UNB team that led the league in goals per game (5.33), shots per game (41.7), and power play percentage (30.5%) at bay. Unlike Moncton, who rely on a handful of players to generate the majority of their offense, you can't take a break against the Reds as they feature seven players who potted 10+ goals and 11 players who put up 20+ points.

At the end of the day it is hard to envision a scenario in which the Reds don't emerge victorious in this series. UNB have been on a roll for almost three months and while Monpetit may be able to steal a game for the Aigles Bleus, the Reds offensive depth, sound defensive play, solid goaltending - whether it be Samuel Harvey or Rylan Parenteau who get the nod - and home-ice advantage should prove to be too much for a Moncton team that, while on the upswing in recent years, aren't quite there yet.

PREDICTION: UNB in 3, booking their spot at the University Cup.

POLL: Who do you got?

Who wins?
UNB in 3
UNB in 4
UNB in 5
Moncton
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AUS Awards Announced

The AUS announced its major award winners and all-stars earlier today and six Reds players were recognized for their outstanding seasons.

Although they were shut out of the major awards, Reds forward Tyler Boland was named a first team all-star, forward Kris Bennett and defenceman Matt Murphy were named to the second all-star squad, and goaltender Samuel Harvey, forward Brady Gilmour, and defenceman Connor Hall were part of the all-rookie team.

Here is the complete list of honourees:

Most Valuable Player (Kelly Trophy): G Logan Flodell, Acadia
Rookie of the Year (A.J. MacAdam Trophy): Mitchell Balmas, Saint Mary's
Most Sportsmanlike Player (Don Wells Trophy): Vincent Deslauriers, Moncton
Student-Athlete Community Service Award (The Godfrey Award): Liam Maaskant, Acadia
Coach of the Year (Bob Boucher Trophy): Darren Burns, Acadia

First Team All-Stars
G - Logan Flodell, Acadia
D - Nicholas Welsh, Saint Mary's
D - Owen Headrick, UPEI
F - Mitchell Balmas, Saint Mary's
F - Tyler Boland, UNB
F - Maxime St-Cyr, Moncton

Second Team All-Stars
G - Etienne Monpetit, Moncton
D - Matt Murphy, UNB
D - Garrett McFadden, Acadia
F - Kris Bennett, UNB
F - Kameron Kielly, UPEI
F - Stephen Johnson, Saint Mary's

All-Rookie Team
G - Samuel Harvey, UNB
D - Francis Thibeault, Moncton
D - Connor Hall, UNB
F - Mitchell Balmas, Saint Mary's
F - Kyle Maksimovich, UPEI
F - Brady Gilmour, UNB

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

U Sports Top Ten (#18): Idle Reds Remain #1

Despite not playing a game last week, the University of New Brunswick Reds maintained their comfortable lead atop the latest men's hockey rankings, which were released earlier today.

The Reds (1914.51 ELO points), who open their playoffs on Thursday night after enjoying a first round bye, remained in the number one position while Saskatchewan (1799.32), Carleton (1783.11), and Alberta (1732.61) all held firm as well.

The first change came in the number five spot with Guelph (1698.60) flip-flopping with Ryerson 1682.80). Another OUA team - the UQTR Patriotes (1663.69) - came in at seven, two spots up from last week.

The Calgary Dinos (1634.71) jumped from 10th to 8th while Saint Mary's (1621.62) and Ottawa 1592.06) are back in the rankings for the first time since November 19th and January 21st, respectively.

Playoff action resumes across the country tomorrow night with three OUA match-ups. The two AUS series get underway on Thursday while both Canada West series begin Friday.

U Sports 2nd Round Schedules

The schedule for all of the second round playoff match-ups have been announced. They are as follows:

NOTE: AUS is best 3-of-5, OUA and Canada West are best 2-of-3

ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT
- Three berths at University Cup (Acadia + Champion + Runner-Up or Acadia + Finalist + Bronze Medal Winner)

#1 UNB Reds (26-4-0) vs. #4 Moncton Aigles Bleus (13-11-6)
Game 1 - Thursday, February 20th at UNB
Game 2 - Friday, February 21st at UNB
Game 3 - Monday, February 24th at Moncton
Game 4 - Tuesday, February 25th at Moncton (if necessary)
Game 5 - Thursday, February 28th at UNB (if necessary)

#2 Acadia Axemen (19-9-2) vs. #3 Saint Mary's Huskies (17-12-1)
Game 1 - Thursday, February 20th at Acadia
Game 2 - Saturday, February 22nd at Acadia
Game 3 - Monday, February 24th at Saint Mary's
Game 4 - Tuesday, February 26th at Saint Mary's (if necessary)
Game 5 - Thursday, February 28th at Acadia (if necessary)

ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
- Three berths at University Cup (OUA East Winner + OUA West Winner + Bronze Medal Winner)

OUA EAST

#1 Carleton Ravens (24-3-1) vs. #5 Concordia Stingers (13-10-5)
Game 1 - Wednesday, February 19th at Carleton
Game 2 - Saturday, February 22nd at Concordia
Game 3 - Sunday, February 23rd at Carleton (if necessary)

#2 UQTR Patriotes (19-6-3) vs. #3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (17-7-4)
Game 1 - Wednesday, February 19th at UQTR
Game 2 - Friday, February 21st at Ottawa
Game 3 - Sunday, February 23rd at UQTR (if necessary)

OUA WEST

#2 Ryerson Rams (20-5-3) vs. #8 Western Mustangs (11-13-4)
Game 1 - Wednesday, February 19th at Ryerson
Game 2 - Saturday, February 22nd at Western
Game 3 - Sunday, February 23rd at Ryerson (if necessary)

#3 Guelph Gryphons (17-6-5) vs. #5 Brock Badgers (14-12-2)
Game 1 - Thursday, February 20th at Guelph
Game 2 - Friday, February 21st at Brock
Game 3 - Sunday, February 23rd at Guelph (if necessary)

CANADA WEST
- Two berths at University Cup (Champion + Runner-Up)

#1 Alberta Golden Bears (23-5-0) vs. #5 UBC Thunderbirds (9-14-5)
Game 1 - Friday, February 21st at Alberta
Game 2 - Saturday, February 22nd at Alberta
Game 3 - Sunday, February 23rd at Alberta (if necessary)

#2 Saskatchewan Huskies (22-4-2) vs. #3 Calgary Dinos (18-7-3)
Game 1 - Friday, February 21st at Saskatchewan
Game 2 - Saturday, February 22nd at Saskatchewan
Game 3 - Sunday, February 23rd at Saskatchewan (if necessary)

U Sports Playoff Update

All three conferences finished up their first round playoff series' this past weekend, which means 12 more teams - including Toronto, McGill, and Mount Royal - have been eliminated from University Cup contention. Here are the results:


ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT
- Three berths at University Cup (Acadia + Champion + Runner-Up or Acadia + Finalist + Bronze Medal Winner)
- Byes: #1 UNB Reds (26-4-0), #2 Acadia Axemen (19-9-2)

#3 Saint Mary's Huskies (17-12-1) defeated #6 UPEI Panthers (10-15-5) 2 games to 0 (5-4, 4-3 2OT)

#4 Moncton Aigles Bleus (13-11-6) defeated #5 St. FX X-Men (12-13-5) 2 games to 0 (3-2, 4-2)

ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
- Three berths at University Cup (OUA East Winner + OUA West Winner + Bronze Medal Winner)

OUA EAST

#1 Carleton Ravens (24-3-1) defeated #8 RMC Paladins (9-18-1) 2 games to 0 (7-3, 5-4)

#2 UQTR Patriotes (19-6-3) defeated #7 Queen's Golden Gaels (12-13-3) 2 games to 0 (3-1, 4-3)

#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (17-7-4) defeated #6 Ontario Tech Ridgebacks (13-12-3) 2 games to 1 (2-1 OT, 3-5, 5-0)

#5 Concordia Stingers (13-10-5) defeated #4 McGill Redmen (16-10-2) 2 games to 1 (1-2, 5-4 OT, 2-1)

OUA WEST

#8 Western Mustangs (11-13-4) defeated #1 Toronto Varsity Blues (21-5-2) 2 games to 1 (2-6, 3-1, 3-1)

#2 Ryerson Rams (20-5-3) defeated #7 Lakehead Thunderwolves (13-12-3) 2 games to 0 (4-1, 2-1 OT)

#3 Guelph Gryphons (17-6-5) defeated #6 Laurier Golden Hawks (13-12-2) 2 games 1 (1-3, 6-3, 4-2)

#5 Brock Badgers (14-12-2) defeated #4 Windsor Lancers (15-10-3) 2 games to 0 (6-3, 5-4)

CANADA WEST
- Two berths at University Cup (Champion + Runner-Up)
- Byes: #1 Alberta Golden Bears (23-5-0), #2 Saskatchewan Huskies (22-4-2)

#3 Calgary Dinos (18-7-3) defeated #6 Manitoba Bisons (9-15-4) 2 games to 0 (6-2, 2-1)

#5 UBC Thunderbirds (9-14-5) defeated #4 Mount Royal Cougars (18-8-2) 2 games to 1 (4-2, 3-5, 5-4 OT)


Friday, February 14, 2020

Semi-Final Matchups Set

The University of New Brunswick Reds will open the AUS playoffs against the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus as both quarter-final series’ concluded tonight. Moncton knocked off St. FX 4-2 to complete a two game sweep of the X-Men, but it wasn’t until the Saint Mary’s Huskies got past the UPEI Panthers 4-3 in double overtime that the semi-final pairings were finalized.

Game 1 of the best 3-of-5 UNB/Moncton series goes this Thursday night with game 2 the next night. Both games are at the AUC and are scheduled for a 7PM start.

Acadia takes on Saint Mary’s in the other series.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

U Sports Top Ten (#17): Regular Season Concludes

The final top ten rankings of the regular season were released yesterday and, once again, the University of New Brunswick Reds hold down the top spot.

The Reds received 1914.51 ELO points to lock down the number one ranking for the 9th consecutive week. The rest of the top four remained unchanged as well with Saskatchewan (1899.32), Carleton (1774.88), and Alberta (1732.61) maintaining their positions.

There was plenty of movement in the lower half of the rankings. Ryerson (1658.91) moved up one spot to 5th, Guelph (1657.57) went from 8th to 6th, and Toronto (1652.32) fell two spots to 7th.

UQTR (1633.32) and Calgary (1616.56) both re-entered the rankings after a one week absence, coming in at 8th and 10th, respectively. The 13-12-3 Laurier Golden Hawks (1625.03) somehow remained in the rankings at 9th.

While the Reds enjoy a first round playoff bye, postseason action gets underway across the country beginning tonight.