Friday, June 25, 2021

Reds Add D-Man Larose

The defending AUS Champion UNB Reds continue to re-load their roster in preparation of the 2021-2022 season, announcing the addition of defenceman Nathan Larose yesterday. 

Larose, a 6'2", 194 pound native of Mirabel, Quebec has spent the last five seasons in the QMJHL, playing for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Saint John Sea Dogs, and Cape Breton Eagles. An alternate captain for each of the last three seasons, Larose turned into one of the best offensive defenceman in the league following his trade to Cape Breton during the 2018-2019 season. He put up 17 goals and 20 assists while being a +34 in 51 games in his first full season with the Eagles. Then, this past year, he led all 'Q' rearguards with 17 goals and added 16 assists in 31 games in the pandemic-disrupted season. His 33 points led all Cape Breton players. 

Overall, Larose posted 104 points (45 goals, 59 assists) in 206 career major junior games.    

Reds fans can expect "a high-level offensive skill package, highlighted by excellent skating ability and a powerful shot", says head coach Gardiner MacDougall. Further, associate coach Rob Hennigar describes Larose as "a player who has a lot of tools" who has a shot that "is exceptional and can be a game breaker".

Larose joins a defensive corps that has lost stalwarts Marcus McIvor, Matt Murphy, Olivier LeBlanc, and Tristan Pomerleau over the last two summers. It currently includes Joe Gatenby, Noah Carroll, Benjamin Gagne, Conner Hall, and fellow rookies Kade Landry and Adam McCormick. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Fredericton - Fort Wayne Connection

Justin A. Kohn of the Journal Gazette has a great article discussing the budding relationship between the Reds and the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets, a team that features former UNBers Matt Boudens, Marcus McIvor, Randy Gazzola, Matt Murphy, and Oliver Cooper.  

The ex-Reds have played an integral role in the Komets success this season as the team has advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. Boudens scored the series-clinching overtime goal in the deciding game to send the Komets to the western conference finals against the Allen Americans. Cooper scored a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, and Murphy and Gazzola added assists in game two against Allen to even up the series. This helped propel the Komets to a three games to one series win, with Boudens scoring in the clinching game.  

The Komets will now face Alex Dubeau and the South Carolina Stingrays in the league final.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

AUS Schedule Released

In what is perhaps the biggest sign yet that things are slowly getting back to normal, the AUS has released the 2021-2022 men's hockey schedule - and it is very similar looking to recent years.

The Reds will raise their 2019-2020 AUS Championship banner on Wednesday, October 6th when they welcome the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus to the AUC in their season - and the AUS - opener. They play their first road game of the season two nights later, travelling to Prince Edward Island to face the Panthers.

Here is the complete schedule (all games are at 7PM unless noted, homes games in red):

Wednesday, October 6th vs. Moncton 
Friday, October 8th at UPEI 
Wednesday, October 13th vs. Acadia
Sunday, October 17th vs. Saint Mary's (3PM)
Friday, October 22nd at St. FX
Saturday, October 23rd at Dalhousie
Friday, October 29th at Dalhousie
Saturday, October 30th at St. FX
Friday, November 5th at Moncton
Saturday, November 6th at UPEI
Friday, November 12th vs. Acadia
Saturday, November 13th vs. Saint Mary's
Friday, November 19th vs. St. FX
Saturday, November 20th vs. Dalhousie (4PM)
Friday, November 26th at Acadia
Saturday, November 27th at Saint Mary's
Friday, December 3rd vs. Moncton
Saturday, December 4th at UPEI

Friday, January 7th vs. Moncton
Saturday, January 8th vs. UPEI
Friday, January 14th vs. St. FX
Saturday, January 15th vs. Dalhousie
Friday, January 21st at Saint Mary's 
Saturday, January 22nd at Acadia
Friday, January 28th at Dalhousie
Saturday, January 29th at St. FX
Friday, February 4th vs. Acadia
Saturday, February 5th vs. Saint Mary's (4PM)
Wednesday, February 9th at Moncton
Saturday, February 12th vs. UPEI

A few notes:

- The October 6th start is about a week later than the previous two seasons.
- This will mark the 5th time in six seasons the Reds will open the season at home. 
- It will be the 4th time in five seasons they will face Moncton in their home opener.
- UNB will be looking to extend their streak of nine straight season opening wins and 31 (!!) straight home opening victories.
- The schedule features three Wednesday night games. Two are against a familiar Wednesday night opponent in Moncton, but the other is a rare mid-week game against Acadia. 
- The Reds experimented with home afternoon games in 2019-2020 and there are three more scheduled this year. They have a pair of Saturday games at 4PM and another at 3PM on a Sunday.
- As has been the standard since the introduction of the 30 game schedule, there are 18 games scheduled before the Christmas break and 12 afterwards.
- They play eight home games and ten road games before the break and seven home games and five road games after.
- This season UNB will play three out of their five games versus Acadia, Saint Mary's, and Moncton at home. They play an extra road games against St. FX, Dalhousie, and UPEI.
- Interestingly, they will play all three of their road games against UPEI before Christmas. They won't have to travel to the island after December 4th (unless the two teams meet in the playoffs).
- After opening the season with three out of four games at the AUC, the Reds will be on the road for six straight. This is their longest road trip since also playing six in a row away from home during the 2015-2016 season.
- UNB have a pair of stretches were they will play four in a row on home ice, including the first four games coming out of the holiday break.
- In an odd scheduling quirk, the Reds will go on the road to face St. FX and Dalhousie on consecutive weekends at the end of October. This will feature a rare back-to-back against the Tigers.
- For the 4th time in seven seasons, UNB will wrap up the regular season against UPEI.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Veterans Returning

The defending AUS Champions received some good news this past week as it was announced that four key veterans - forwards Tyler Boland, Mark Rassell, Samuel Dove-McFalls, and James McEwan - have all committed to return to the Reds for the upcoming season. 

Defencemen Joe Gatenby and Noah Carroll and goaltender Rylan Parenteau are all expected to return for the 2021-2022 season as well. 

This is welcome news for the Reds as they have saw a significant number of players either graduate or move on to the professional ranks since their last game in March 2020. These returning players will no doubt be heavily relied upon to lead what should be one of UNB's youngest and most inexperienced squads in recent years.

AUS Plans Fall Return

Get excited folks. The end is in sight.

After over a year of what has felt like nothing but bad news, there is finally some optimism on the horizon as Atlantic University Sport has announced the intention to resume competition this upcoming fall.

Following the cancellation of all 2020-2021 regular season and championship competition, the conference hopes to restart in September with regular season and exhibition play getting underway. 

It is expected men's hockey will follow a similar format and timeline to previous seasons. If this is indeed the case, then we can expect exhibition games starting in early to mid-September, the regular season beginning in late September/early October, and playoffs in late February. 

Although it has yet to be confirmed, it appears Acadia will host the University Cup March 17th-20th in Halifax. Acadia, of course, was the host of the 2020 tournament that was eventually cancelled.

The 2021-2022 schedule is expected to be released in the coming days. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

News And Notes: Boucher, Graduates, 2020-21 Season

The news cycle has been non-existent in recent months, but some news has started to trickle in over the past few days.

- Former Red Matthew Boucher has been named the ECHL Rookie of the Year after a season in which the forward led all first year players in goals (25) and points (52). He had previously been named to the all-rookie team.

- The Reds official website has posted a couple stories over the last week. The first talked about how the team coped with the pandemic and the lack of a 2020-2021 season while the other discusses the 11 players who graduated last weekend. 

- Former player Tyler Dietrich earned a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships for his role as Team Canada's video coach.