Friday, January 10, 2020

Panthers Mauled

The visiting UPEI Panthers ran into an absolute buzz-saw tonight at the Aitken Centre as the University of New Brunswick Reds' skill was firing all cylinders in an dominant 11-0 victory. UNB's fourth straight win improves their record to 16-4-0 on the season and clinches a playoff spot in the process. Meanwhile, the Panthers fall to 8-10-3.

The Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the 1st period and, unfortunately for the Panthers, they were just getting warmed up on the night. Tyler Boland (Anderson, Gatenby) opened the scoring on the power play with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle that beat Panthers goalie Simon Hofley at 4:28 and then duplicated the feat - this time with a wrist shot from the slot from Anderson and Watling - at 10:08. Alexandre Goulet (Bennett, Gilmour) also used a wrist shot to extend the lead to 3-0 at 12:56. Shots in the period were 18-8 for UNB.

The Reds added four more goals in the 2nd period. At 4:07 Brady Gilmour's shot hit Hofley in the shoulder, but the puck dropped right on to Kris Bennett's stick at the side of the net that he easily deposited. Just 52 seconds later Mark Rassell had the puck in the slot and got tied up with a Panthers defender. Stephen Anderson swooped in, grabbed the loose puck, and beat Hofley with a deke in tight. Matt Murphy also picked up an assist on UNB's fifth goal of the night. Anderson also figured into the game's 6th goal at 13:28 when he and Boland combined to set up Patrick Watling with a centring pass that Watling banged into the far side of the cage. The Reds power play struck for the third time on the evening to make it 7-0 at 18:24. Marcus McIvor got the puck to Boland, who spotted Tristan Pomerleau creeping down from the point and he connected with the defenceman at the backdoor for a tap-in. The Reds held a 16-7 shots on goal advantage in the period.

For the Panthers, the opening minutes of the 3rd period perfectly encapsulated how things went for them on this night. The Reds took a penalty at 19:07 of the 2nd period and then took two more at the 20:00 mark, which gave the Panthers four consecutive minutes of power play time - including a 3:07 two man advantage - to begin the 3rd period. Not only did UNB kill it off, they scored a shorthanded goal at 2:09 when Matt Murphy sprung Connor Hall for a breakaway just as he stepped out of the penalty box and the newest Red snapped a shot past Hofley. The Reds avalanche would continue as Boland (Bennett) completed his hat-trick at 3:40 and Gilmour (Watling) scored off the ensuing face-off nine seconds later to get the Reds into double-digits. Mark Rassell (Cooper, Dove-McFalls) concluded the onslaught at 15:34. UNB out-shot the Panthers 11-7 over the final twenty minutes.

- Olivier LeBlanc was out of the line-up, which was no doubt due to the hit to the head he took from St. FX's Marcus Cuomo last weekend. Cuomo received a one game suspension for the cheap shot.

- Benjamin Gagne and James McEwan were also scratched.

- Shots favoured UNB 45-22 on the night.

- UNB went 3 for 8 with the man advantage. The Panthers were 0 for 8.

- Lost in all the offensive fireworks was Rylan Parenteau picking up his 8th career shutout.

- The Reds also dominated in the face-off circle with Dove-McFalls (19 out of 23), Mark Simpson (14 out of 21), and Goulet (9 out of 11) helping UNB to a 57-23 advantage in the game.

- Attendance was 2361.

- Tyler Boland (2 goals, 3 assists) was named the player of the game. Anderson (goal, 3 assists) and Gilmour (goal, 2 assists) were named the other two stars.

- It was a rough night for Panthers netminder Simon Hofley (obviously), but you have to give him credit for taking one for the team tonight. UPEI has been without their regular back-up goalie Matthew Mancina all season due to an injury and it was clear that their coaching staff wasn't willing to put in their untested and inexperienced third goaltender even with Hofley struggling.

- Connor Hall is quickly becoming well known among AUS opponents. He was involved in a number of scuffles all night, something that has been a common occurrence during his first three conference games.

- After scoring only three goals in 115 OHL games, Hall has now scored twice in his first three AUS games. Even more remarkable? Both goals have been shorthanded.

- Prior to the game 5th year senior Stephen Anderson was awarded the Brian and Denise Johnson Hockey Scholarship.

- This is the most lopsided shutout by UNB since at least 1967.

- The 11 goals scored are tied for the most in the Gardiner MacDougall era.

- The 11 goal margin of victory is the highest since a 14-1 victory over Mount Allison in 1991.

- UNB have now hit double digit goals in two games this season (10-0 victory over Dalhousie on November 22nd). It is the first time since the 2010-2011 season they have accomplished that feat.

- The Reds have won their last four home games by a combined 33-1 score.

- The Reds got some help from their good friends from Antigonish tonight as Matt Needham's goal with 1:09 remaining in regulation lifted the St. FX X-Men to a 2-1 home win over the 1st place Acadia Axemen. Saint Mary's blanked Dalhousie 5-0 in the night's other contest.

- Tonight's results pull UNB within two points of the 17-5-0 Axemen with two games in hand.

- The Reds will make up one of those games tomorrow night when they hit the road to take on the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus. For those who can't make it down the highway the game will be broadcast live at Game time is 7PM.