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.