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.