Thursday, October 28, 2021

U Sports Top Ten (#1 and #2): Reds Begin Season In Pole Position

The undefeated University of New Brunswick Reds have began the season as the top men's hockey team in the country, topping the inaugural poll last week as well as the most recent one, published on Tuesday.

The Reds have reeled off nine straight victories to start the season - including six in regular season play - to top the rankings for the 148th and 149th time in program history. They are followed by a trio of Canada West teams - the traditional powers from Saskatchewan (1-0-0) and Alberta (1-1-0) as well as the 4-0-0 UBC Thunderbirds, the team UNB was set to face in the 2020 University Cup quarter-finals before it was canceled. 

Guelph and Western, neither of whom have begun their regular season schedule yet, are ranked 5th and 6th. The OUA isn't scheduled to begin playing games that count until November. 

Mount Royal (3-1-0) and Saint Mary's (3-3-0) are in the 7th and 8th spots while Carleton and Ottawa round out the rankings.

This season U Sports is using a combination of the computer ELO ratings and the rankings from select media members. 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Reds Win Another Tight One

After defeating the Dalhousie Tigers by a 7-0 score in the pre-season, the University of New Brunswick Reds probably didn't expect tonight's game in Halifax to come down to the wire. Yet that was exactly the case as the Reds needed to survive a late flurry to pull out a 2-1 victory over the pesky Tigers. UNB runs their record to 6-0-0 while the Tigers fall to 3-3-0. 

- The way the opening twenty minutes played out it appeared UNB was going to be well on their way to a comfortable win. Just 46 seconds into the contest Tyler Boland (Gilmour, Guay) got the last whack at a loose puck at the side of the net, slamming it past Tigers netminder Connor Hicks. They doubled the lead at 17:57 while on a 5-on-3 power play. Kade Landry attempted to make a cross-seam pass, but Samuel Dove-McFalls, who was camped out in the slot, fooled Hicks by intercepting the puck. Hicks, who moved aggressively from his left to the right post anticipating the pass going the width of the ice, found himself out of position and Dove-McFalls put the puck into the wide open net. James McEwan picked up the secondary assist on the goal. 

- The game was marred by a number of penalties - 80 minutes on 28 infractions between the two teams - and post-whistle scrums. It wasn't until the 11:47 mark of the 3rd period that the game saw its next goal. The Tigers won an offensive zone face-off and moments later Logan Johnston backhanded a loose puck past Rylan Parenteau and into the top right corner. 

- The Tigers pulled Hicks with 80 seconds remaining in the game and were able to generate lots of zone time, but the Reds got some big shot blocks in the dying seconds to secure the victory.

- Shots in the game were 43-20 for UNB with period totals of 17-7, 14-5, 12-8.

- The Reds were without the services of Mark Rassell (lower body injury) and Noah Carroll, who was on the receiving end of a boarding penalty the night before against St. FX.

- There were plenty of power plays in the game. UNB was 1 for 7 while the Tigers were 0 for 9.

- UNB won 42 out of 78 face-offs. Dove-McFalls was 17 for 26 to lead the Reds.

- Hicks and Dove-McFalls were the players of the game. 

- Attendance was 246.

- The Reds have won 40 straight games against the Tigers dating back to 3-2 shootout loss on February 4th, 2012. UNB had scored at least three goals in each of the previous 22 meetings.

- Through the first six games of the season it is apparent that this isn't the same explosive offense we have become accustomed to. The Reds have only scored 19 goals thus far, the fewest they have ever scored through six games in any season under Gardiner MacDougall. By comparison, they scored 30, 25, 25, 33, and 27 goals through their first six games over the previous five seasons. 

- On the flip side, the seven goals they have surrendered so far is the fewest through six games since MacDougall became head coach in 2000.

- All told, we are seeing way fewer total goals per UNB game than we are used to. 

- So far this season it is looking like the conference is tight as ever with teams 2 through 7 separated by six points. In addition to this game the previously winless Moncton Aigles Bleus stormed back from a 2-0 3rd period deficit to stun the 2nd place St. FX X-Men 4-2 in Antigonish. The other game saw the UPEI Panthers shut-out the Acadia Axemen 3-0 on home ice. 

- In a rarity, the Reds are back in Halifax for another game against the Tigers Friday night. Game time is 7PM.

Winning Streak Hits Five

For the second time on the young season the University of New Brunswick Reds failed to hold a late one goal lead, but once again they were able to escape with an overtime victory as Austen Keating's goal was the difference in a 2-1 win over the St. FX X-Men tonight in Antigonish. UNB remains perfect with a 5-0-0 record while the X-Men sit alone in second place at 4-1-1 on the season.

- The first meeting between these two rivals since January of 2020 produced a blistering 1st period that took less than half an hour to complete and featured a level of intensity and pace that we haven't experienced thus far this season. There were no goals in the period as UNB held a slight 8-7 shots on goal advantage. 

- The Reds were awarded a five minute power play early in the 2nd period after William Bower was assessed a major penalty for boarding Noah Carroll, but despite all kinds of zone time they were unable to generate any real dangerous scoring chances and the X-Men killed it off without too much issue. 

- A second, abbreviated, power play late in the period yielded different results, however. Just five seconds after Connor Hall exited the penalty box to turn a four-on-four into a Reds man advantage. Brady Gilmour carried the puck over the X-Men blue-line and dished the puck off to Austen Keating. Keating then dropped the puck back to a charging Samuel Dove-McFalls, who threaded a pass to Gilmour at the side of the net that the second year forward redirected past Joseph Raaymakers. This was the only goal in the period as UNB out-shot St. FX 9-4.

- The Reds largely controlled possession in the 3rd period despite being out-shot 7-4. They did a great job of limiting the X-Men's league-leading offense by clearing the puck out of their zone in a timely matter. The strategy worked flawlessly until the 18:36 mark when Matthew Philipps took a pass just inside the Reds blue-line, eluded a defender, and ripped a hard, low shot from the high slot that beat Rylan Parenteau to tie the game at one, which is how it would remain after 60 minutes. 

- UNB had both shots in the 3-on-3 overtime period with the winner coming at 3:36. Keating (Boland, Carroll) got the puck behind the net and shook off a defender as he circled out front before putting a backhander on net that somehow squirted through Raaymakers' legs, giving the Reds a huge road win over the conference's second place team. 

- UNB went with their usual line-up with Mark Rassell remaining the lone scratch due to an injury.

- Shots were 23-18 for the Reds.

- UNB went 1 for 3 on the power play. Their penalty kill remains perfect on the season, killing off all five of St. FX's opportunities with the man advantage. 

- The Reds narrowly won the face-off battle, taking 27 out of 51 draws. Jason Willms (7 out of  9) had the best night at the dot.

- Attendance was 812. 

- Parenteau was named the player of the game with X-Men William Thompson and Raaymakers the other two stars.

- League leading scorer Liam Hawel, who entered the game with 11 points through St. FX's first five  games, was held to two shots on goal and a -1 rating on the night. 

- No player had more than three shots on goal.

- UNB had scored 5+ goals in eight of their last nine meetings with St. FX.

- They've won nine out of their last 10 games against the X-Men.

- 23 shots on goal is the fewest in a game by UNB since also having 23 in a 6-2 playoff win over SMU in February 2018.

- The 41 combined shots is the fewest in a UNB game since Alberta out-shot the Reds 24-9 in the 2015 University Cup final. 

- In other AUS action tonight, the Saint Mary's Huskies won their third in a row with a 5-3 win in Wolfville over Acadia and Dalhousie improved to 3-2-0 with a 6-1 rout of the winless Moncton Aigles Bleus in Halifax.

- The Reds travel to Halifax for a game against the surprising Tigers tomorrow night. Game time is 7PM. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

UNB Remains Undefeated

The University of New Brunswick Reds overcame a slow start to pull away from the Saint Mary's Huskies in an entertaining 5-2 victory tonight at the AUC. UNB runs their winning streak to seven straight games to begin the season, including a 4-0-0 record in regular season play. 

- A fast-paced first period that took less than 30 minutes to play produced a goal for each side. Cedric Ralph got the visitors on the board first at 12:21 only for the Reds to square things up at 15:01. Tyler Boland created a turnover in the neutral zone and quickly reversed Saint Mary's attempted rush up the ice with a pass to Brady Gilmour, who, along with Nicolas Guay were just exiting the offensive zone. The sudden transition caught the Huskies and created an odd man rush with Gilmour feeding Guay with a perfect pass that the rookie fired past goaltender Matthew Welsh and into the top of the net. Shots in the period were 13-9 for Saint Mary's, who appeared more than capable of keeping up with the Reds style of play.

- The Huskies continued their success into the 2nd period, holding their own, if not carrying the play for the first  12 or so minutes of the period as they did a good job of stifling the Reds attack. However, as we have saw many times over the years, UNB can turn it on in a hurry and that's what exactly happened in this one. The Reds out-shot SMU 11-3 over the last five minutes - 15-8 overall in the period.- and scored a pair of goals to take control of the game. At 15:15 Samuel Dove-McFalls gave UNB their first lead of the night (Keating, McEwan) when he was the trailing man on the rush and jumped on a loose puck that popped out into the slot, putting it past Welsh. The Reds may have caught a break as Welsh had to contend with a number of bodies around his crease and may have been interfered with prior to the puck going in. Less than two minutes later the Reds struck again with a power play goal when Tyler Boland (McEwan, Dove-McFalls) dipsy doodled around the defence on his way toward the goal and beat Welsh with a backhander.

- Entering the final period with a two goal lead the Reds locked it down defensively for the first half of the frame before Benjamin Gagne took an undisciplined four minute roughing penalty. The Huskies peppered Griffen Outhouse with shots, but the Reds were able to kill off the double minor and would eventually add to to their lead at 16:59 when Austen Keating (Phelan, Guay) converted his own rebound from in tight. Saint Mary's responded 53 seconds later to make it 4-2, but it was too little and much too late. McEwan (Hall, Keating) guided the puck into an empty net at 19:05 to finish the scoring on the night. Shots in the period were 14-9 for UNB. 

- The Reds went with the same line-up as Wednesday with Mark Rassell being the lone scratch due to a lower body injury.

- In a rarity in the early going, both teams played with a full complement of 18 skaters

- UNB out-shot the Huskies 38-30.

- Dove-McFalls was the player of the game with Outhouse, who was solid all night in his AUS regular season debut, and McEwan named the other two stars. 

- UNB was 1 for 3 on the power play. SMU went 0 for 5.

- The Reds owned the face-off circle, winning 30 out of 47 draws. Dove-McFalls led the way with 11 wins in 14 opportunities.

- Attendance was a solid 1926 on what was the first weekend home game of the season. Their previous two home games came on Wednesday nights. 

- Saint Mary's entered the night having won three of their last five games at the AUC.

- UNB has surrendered at least 30 shots on goal in two of their last three regular season home games. Prior to that they had given up 30+ shots at home twice over the previous 73 games (30 vs. SMU on January 4th, 2019 and 31 vs. St. FX on October 16th, 2015).

- Elsewhere around the conference tonight, it was Acadia getting past Moncton 3-2 in Wolfville and UPEI handing St. FX their first loss by a 4-3 count on the island. 

- With the X-Men's loss tonight UNB is now the lone undefeated team in the conference. 

- The Reds next game is against those same X-Men next Friday night in Antigonish. This begins a stretch of six consecutive road games for UNB. Their next home game isn't until November 12th.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Reds Wear Down Axemen

The visiting Acadia Axemen, playing with a short bench, nursed a one goal lead through forty minutes, but the University of New Brunswick Reds took over the game in the 3rd period to come away with a 4-1 victory tonight at the AUC. UNB moves to 3-0-0 with the win while Acadia drops to 1-2-0.

- The Reds out-shot Acadia 9-5 and 14-5 and had four power plays over the first two periods but had nothing to show for it as a combination of some bad luck, defenders getting sticks and bodies in passing and shooting lanes, and stellar play from reigning AUS MVP goaltender Logan Flodell kept UNB's offence off the board.

- For the first time in five games this season the Reds surrendered the first goal of the game. Mason McCarty rushed the puck up the right side of the ice and found Peyton Hoyt with a cross-ice pass through the slot. The Fredericton native beat Rylan Parenteau with a quick snap shot to give Acadia a 1-0 lead at 13:35 of the first period. 

- The Reds put the pedal to the metal in the final twenty minutes, out-shooting Acadia 21-4 and scoring four times to secure the victory. James Phelan (MacDougall, Guay) got the home side on the board at 7:08 when he raced down the left side, using his speed to beat a defender wide before cutting towards the net and getting the puck past Flodell. Just over four minutes later, at 11:11, James McEwan (McCormick, Hall) gave UNB the lead with an almost identical play. Then, at 12:02, Jason Willms (Carson, Carroll) provided some insurance, picking up a loose puck in the slot and beating Flodell five-hole. The Axemen had a chance to get back into the game when they were awarded a four minute power play at 13:57, but the Reds killed it off and just over a minute later Nicolas Guay hit the empty net for the final goal of the night. 

- Shots in the game were 44-14.

- Connor Hall was back in the line-up while Mark Rassell was out. Benjamin Gagne moved up from defence to forward to take Rassell's place.

- The Axemen began the game with only 16 skaters and then saw Jack Flaman leave the game in the 2nd period after taking a puck to the face. He did not return.

- McEwan was named the player of the game. Flodell and Kade Landry were the game's other stars. 

- UNB went 43-19 on face-offs. Samuel Dove-McFalls (14 out of 23), Willms (9 out of 12), and Tyler Boland (9 out of 13).

- Both teams were 0 for 4 on the power play. 

- Attendance was 1710.

- UNB has won 14 out of their last 15 meetings against Acadia at the AUC. The lone loss came in game 1 of the 2020 AUS Finals. 

- This is the Reds 17th straight conference win.

- St. FX defeated Dalhousie 5-2 on home ice in the only other game on the schedule tonight. 

- UNB is back at the AUC on Friday night against the Saint Mary's Huskies. Game time is 7PM. Please note that this game was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon before being moved up to Friday.  

Friday, October 8, 2021

Reds Best Panthers In OT

The University of New Brunswick Reds gave up a last second tying goal, but were able to recover to spoil the UPEI Panthers season opener with an entertaining 3-2 overtime win tonight in Charlottetown. UNB moves to 2-0-0 on the young season.

- For the 5th time in as many games this season, UNB struck first. A turnover by the Panthers at the offensive blue line led to a three-on-one the other way. James Phelan fed the puck up to Nicolas Guay, who fed Austen Keating with a cross ice pass. Keating's shot was stopped, but UPEI goalie Jonah Capriotti left the rebound in the crease as his momentum carried him out of position. Guay continued to the net and jumped all over the loose puck, stuffing it in for his first career AUS goal. The goal came at 17:08 and was the only marker of the opening period. UNB out-shot UPEI 9-8 in the frame. 

- The Panthers got the equalizer early in the 2nd period, ending the Reds shutout streak at 263:27. Rylan Parenteau kicked out a big rebound to his right, but Danil Antropov collected the puck and was able to slip it between Parenteau's out-stretched right leg and the post. The two teams headed to the 3rd period tied at 1 after a period in which the Reds held 15-10 advantage in shots.

- UNB started to tilt the ice in their favour as the game wore on as they out-shot the Panthers 15-8 in the period. However, it wasn't until the 18:06 mark that they were able to break through. Joe Gatenby got the puck up to Samuel Dove McFalls and the captain drove down the left side before dropping the puck back to James McEwan just inside the Panthers zone. McEwan took a few strides towards the net and fired a wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle, which hit the post and caromed behind Capriotti. Dove-McFalls, who was camped out at the top of the crease was able to reach around the goaltender and poke the puck in for the go-ahead goal. Trailing by a goal the Panthers pulled Capriotti with 79 seconds remaining. Despite some close calls around the open net UNB couldn't get the insurance marker and it would cost them when Kyle Maksimovich crashed the crease and tied the game with only eight seconds left.

- The game headed to overtime and the Reds were awarded an early four-on-three power play when Maksimovich was sent off for tripping 24 seconds into the period. After failing on their first five opportunities with the man advantage, the sixth time was the charm. Kade Landry laid the puck over to Tyler Boland and the reigning AUS scoring champion one-timed the puck from the top of the right face-off dot that beat Capriotti short side. Nicolas Guay picked up the other assist on the game-winning goal that came at 1:33. UNB had the only two shots of the period.

- Connor Hall was out of the line-up. Mark Rassell left the game in the 2nd period and never returned. 

- Shots in the game were 41-26 for the Reds.

- UNB went 1 for 6 on the power play while UPEI was 0 for 6. For the second straight game the Reds had to kill off a two man disadvantage when they took penalties 1:19 apart halfway through the 1st. 

- The Reds held a slight 38-36 advantage in the face-off circle. James Phelan had the best night, winning six out of eight draws. Troy Lajeunesse was a force for the Panthers, going 20 for 28.

- Boland was named player of the game.

- Attendance was 569.

- Somewhat surprisingly, this is only the 3rd time in five seasons UNB has started 2-0-0.

- UNB has now won 14 straight games against UPEI since the beginning of the 2018-2019 season. 

- This is UNB's first regular season overtime win since a 3-2 win against SMU on October 20th, 2018. Since then they have lost two games in shootouts, lost a game in overtime, and won two in a shootout.  

- They didn't have a single one of their 41 games during the 2019-2020 season decided in overtime.

- Tonight was the first full night of AUS action. Acadia defeated Dalhousie 5-2 in Wolfville and St. FX scored a 5-4 win over Saint Mary's in Halifax.

- UNB's next game action is Wednesday night at the AUC against the Acadia Axemen. Game time is 7PM.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Reds Get Defensive In Opener

EDIT - The UNB Athletics site has posted their recap.

The University of New Brunswick Reds strong defensive play in the pre-season carried over to their season - and home - opener tonight against Moncton as they posted their fourth straight shutout to begin the campaign with a 3-0 victory over the Aigles Bleus in what was a tight checking, defensive-minded contest.

- The Reds dominated the early going and got rewarded 7:28 into the game while on their second power play. Brady Gilmour worked the puck to Austen Keating below the blue-line, who quickly found Isaac Nurse in the slot. Aigles Bleus goaltender Emile Samson had no chance as Nurse one-timed the puck just inside the far post for his first career AUS goal. That would be the lone goal of the period with UNB holding a 14-7 advantage on the shot-clock.  

- The Aigles Bleus were the better team in the 2nd period - out-shooting the Reds 12-6 - but it was James Phelan scoring the lone goal at 12:45. Phelan (Casey, Gagne) picked up a loose puck in the high slot and put the puck through a maze of bodies in front of the net traffic to increase the lead to 2-0 and give UNB some breathing room heading into the final twenty minutes.

- Moncton had a great chance to get back in the game when they were awarded a 56 second two-man advantage in the opening minutes of the 3rd period. However, the Reds penalty killers and goaltender Rylan Parenteau held the fort to preserve the two goal cushion. UNB secured the victory when Nurse (Willms) hit an open net with 1:20 remaining for his second of the night. Shots in the period were 15-12 for the Reds.

- Shots in the game were 35-31 for UNB. 

- The Reds did not allow 30 shots in a regular season game during the entire 2019-2020 season. 

- Rylan Parenteau is obviously locked in thus far. He made a number of big stops among his 31 saves on route to his 3rd shutout already this season.

- Defenceman Connor Hall was the lone scratch. Moncton was without their two best players in goaltender Etienne Montpetit and forward Vincent Deslauriers. 

- UNB was 1 for 5 on the power play. Moncton was 0 for 5.

- Parenteau, Samson, and Nurse were the game's three stars. 

- Attendance was 1743.

- This was UNB's 32nd consecutive home opening win dating back to 1989.

- They have won ten straight season openers with a 4-2 loss to UPEI in 2010 their last setback.

- The Reds have won 21 games in a row against Moncton at the AUC. Their last loss came in October 2012 by a 5-2 score.

- UNB is back in action on Friday when they provide the opposition against UPEI in the Panthers home opener. Game time is scheduled for 7PM and will be streamed at

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Season Previews

With the curtain going up on the 2021-2022 regular season tomorrow night when UNB hosts Moncton, there have been lots of stories posted throughout the day. 

- The AUS website has posted their conference preview.

- Ben Steiner of talks with both Gardiner MacDougall and Tyler Bolan about the upcoming season. 

- MacDougall made a couple of appearances on local radio this morning, appearing on both Bounce 105.3 and Move 106.9.

- Of course, the gold standard of AUS hockey previews once again comes courtesy of the Daily Gleaner's Bruce Hallihan (subscription required). Reading Hallihan's "bible", in which he runs down each team, player by player, will be even more important this year, as he notes "there are only 78 players back from the 2019-2020 season, 88 departures and 88 new faces." 

Dove-McFalls Named Captain

Fourth year forward Samuel Dove-McFalls has been named the newest captain of the University of New Brunswick Reds, the team revealed earlier today. The announcement comes on the eve of the 2021-2022 season opener, which goes tomorrow night versus Moncton at the AUC. 

Dove-McFalls has established himself as one of the top two-way forwards in the conference during his first two seasons in the red and black. He is arguably the best face-off man in the league, a stalwart on the penalty kill, and increased his offensive output from nine points in his rookie season to 26 in 2019-2020.

Fellow veterans Tyler Boland, Mark Rassell, and Joe Gatenby will serve as the alternate captains this season. Goaltender Rylan Parenteau will also be part of the leadership contingent. 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Tonight's Game Cancelled

 In case you haven't heard...