Saturday, November 27, 2021

Gutsy Win Caps Perfect Weekend

An already-undermanned University of New Brunswick Reds squad saw two more of their key players sustain injuries and not return, yet they endured for a gritty, hard-earned 4-1 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies tonight in Halifax. UNB's 8th consecutive victory pushes their record to 15-1-0 on the season, seven points clear of the idle St. FX X-Men.

It was a costly 1st period for the Reds as they lost both James Phelan and Brady Gilmour to potentially serious injuries within 18 seconds of one another. After not being able to convert on a four minute high sticking penalty given to the Huskies early in the game, Dawson Theede was assessed a five minute major at 12:44 for a hard check on Phelan into the boards/glass that left the Reds player crumpled on the ice. Phelan was eventually able to get to his feet under his own power and was escorted off the ice with some help. Only 18 seconds into the lengthy man advantage the Reds were dealt another blow when Brady Gilmour got tangled up with a defender and appeared to get his left leg twisted under him as he fell to the ice. He attempted to get up but immediately collapsed to the ice in obvious discomfort. After laying on the ice for a couple of minutes he was helped off the ice, but clearly was avoiding putting any weight on his leg. The period was almost a complete disaster for the Reds when they failed to score on the major penalty, but only four seconds after it expired Joe Gatenby (Landry, Guay) took a cross-ice pass and one-timed a low shot back against the grain and into the far corner. The goal came at 17:48 and was the only marker of the period as UNB out-shot SMU 9-5.

The rest of the game's goals came in the middle period. Perhaps the turning point came in the early minutes when UNB was given a too many men on the ice penalty at 3:09. The Huskies came close to evening the score when they hit the post behind Rylan Parenteau, but with the power play winding down the Reds forced a turnover in the neutral zone and transitioned the puck up the ice to Samuel Dove-McFalls, who just came off the bench. The captain had a step on the defence and despite being hounded from behind, he was able to to go forehand to backhand and slide the puck under Matthew Welsh for the Reds second goal of the night at 5:10. The Huskies cut into the lead seven seconds into their third straight power play of the period - and fourth straight in the game - when Andrew Coxhead tucked the puck in from in tight at the 10:00 mark. The momentum proved to be short lived, however. Just 48 seconds later Austen Keating shook free from a defender behind the net, came out front, and while falling to ice, swung a pass across the slot right on the tape of Nicolas Guay, who found the back of the net for a 3-1 lead. Dove-McFalls was awarded the secondary assist on the insurance marker. UNB completed the scoring at 14:17 when Keating accepted a long Kade Landry pass in the Huskies zone. Dove-McFalls rushed into the zone to create a two-on-one and Keating put the puck on a platter for him with Dove-McFalls putting a wrist shot into the top left corner, sending the water bottle flying. The Reds would take the 4-1 lead into the 3rd period after out-shooting Saint Mary's 11-5 in the period. 

With UNB utilizing a short bench all night one might have expected the Huskies to have a strong final twenty minutes against a tired Reds team. That did not prove to be the case as UNB was clearly the better team in the 3rd period, out-shooting SMU 16-4 and being in control throughout, leaving little doubt as to the outcome. 

- The shots in the game were 36-14 for UNB.

- The Reds were missing Noah Carroll, Benjamin Gagne, Tyler Boland, and Griffen Outhouse. They began the game with only 16 skaters and ,after the early injuries, played the rest of the night with only 14 skaters - four short of a full line-up.

- UNB was 0 for 6 on the power play. SMU was 1 for 5. 

- The Reds did struggle on face-offs all night, only winning 26 out of 61. Dove-McFalls was a workhorse, taking 29 draws and winning 15 of them.

- While we mentioned last night UNB's recent struggles in Wolfville, surprisingly the opposite has been the case for the Reds in Halifax, especially at the Huskies new home. UNB has now posted eight straight road wins over SMU. This includes a 4-0-0 mark at the new Dauphinee Centre, where the Reds have out-scored the Huskies 26-6.  

- UNB has given up two or fewer goals in all but one game this season - their lone loss, 4-3 to St. FX on October 30th. 

- It was a fruitful night on the out of town scoreboard as the lower ranked team won each of the other two games on the docket. UPEI got a late power play goal to upend Dalhousie 4-3 on the island and Acadia moved past Moncton and into the final playoff spot with a crucial 4-3 road win. 

- Not only is UNB seven points up on the second place X-Men, they are now 15 points ahead of the 3rd place teams (SMU, UPEI, Dalhousie), meaning they have essentially already clinched a first round playoff bye.

- The final home game of the first half comes next Friday and it's an important one as it is the 5th Annual Teddy Bear Toss against the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus. Bring your new or gently used stuffed toys and throw them on the ice after UNB's first goal. If over 1500 stuffies  are collected ticket holders will receive 40% off their bill at the Snooty Fox directly after the game. Game time is 7PM.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Reds Pick Up Road Win

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds played a solid road game and were rewarded with a 5-1 victory over the now-last place Acadia Axemen tonight in Wolfville. The Reds run their record on the season to 14-1-0, five points ahead of the second place St. FX X-Men with two games in hand.

The Reds have done an exceptional job so far this season and getting on the board first, and that was the case again tonight as they struck for a pair of goals in an entertaining, fast-paced opening twenty minutes. At 10:43, just after an Axemen penalty expired, Joe Gatenby threw the puck from the blue line towards the goal. The puck was blocked in front, but James Phelan located the loose puck in the slot and slid it past Logan Flodell. Adam McCormick also picked up an assist on the game's opening goal. The Axemen had a chance to respond when they received a power play opportunity late in the period, however it was the penalty killing unit that came through to extend the lead. Isaac Nurse took the puck from behind his own net the and went the length of the ice, putting a sharp angled shot on Flodell that dropped in behind the netminder. Samuel Dove-McFalls jumped on the loose puck and put it in. Connor Hall was awarded the secondary assist on UNB's second shorthanded goal of the season. The period would end 2-0 with each team generating 14 shots on goal.

The Reds opened the 1st period with 2:10 of power play time due to a double minor for high-sticking given to Acadia's Nick Deakin-Poot towards the end of the 1st period and it only took them 31 seconds to convert. Austen Keating got the puck along the goal line at the side of the net and his pass out to Phelan in the slot was fanned on. Unfortunately for Acadia, it went right to Nicolas Guay and he slapped the puck into the top of the net. The Axemen got that one back at 11:10, responding with an Eric Henderson power play goal to pull back within 3-1, which is how it would remain for the remainder of the period. Shots were 13-9 for UNB in the frame. 

Holding a two goal lead, the Reds did a good job limiting scoring chances over the final twenty minutes. Acadia had their chance when Hall and Phelan took penalties at 12:32 and 13:09 of the period, giving their league-leading power play a golden opportunity to get the Axemen back in the game. It was the Reds league-leading penalty kill that came out on top in this matchup though, killing off both penalties without too much trouble. Phelan then turned the lights out on the home side with an empty net goal - from below his own goal line nonetheless - with 24 seconds remaining. Jason Willms (MacDougall, McEwan) poured it on with another goal with less than a second left to make it a 5-1 final.  

- Shots in the 3rd period 11-10 for Acadia. UNB held a 37-34 advantage in the game.

- UNB was without Noah Carroll, who was serving the second game of his two game suspension stemming from his fight last weekend against St. FX, and Benjamin Gagne, who was given a three game suspension after a "Standards of Conduct Review" following the game against Dalhousie last Saturday. The biggest question coming out of the game might be the status of Tyler Boland, who left early in the first period and never returned. 

- UNB went 1 for 5 on the power play. Acadia was 1 for 6. 

- Rylan Parenteau improved his stat line on the season to 8-0-0 with a ridiculous 0.99 GAA and 0.955 save percentage. 

- The Reds won 35 out of 59 face-offs. Phelan was 16 out of 21 in the circle to lead the way.

- Phelan was named the player of the game with Acadia's Peyton Hoyt being the second star and Parenteau the third. 

- UNB has now given up only 20 goals on the season. Everyone else in the conference has surrendered between 50 (Saint Mary's) and 66 (Acadia) goals. 

- The Reds have had their fair share of struggles in Wolfville prior to the Christmas break over the last decade plus. After losing nine straight times in that situation between 2010 and 2017 they won three in a row, before then dropping both contests in 2019. Even with tonight's win, UNB is only 4-7-4 in their last 15 pre-Christmas games in Wolfville. 

- In other AUS action tonight, the St. FX X-Men turned the tables on the UPEI Panthers. After being embarrassed 9-1 two weeks ago, the X-Men exploded for seven 2nd period goals on route to a 8-3 win in Antigonish. The other game produced an upset with Moncton going into Halifax and besting the Saint Mary's Huskies 5-3.

- UNB is back at it tomorrow night against Saint Mary's, who will no doubt be in a sour mood and looking to salvage their weekend. Game time is 7PM. As always, if you can't be there in person you can watch on AUStv.ca.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Winning Streak Hits Six

The U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds scored two goals in each period and Rylan Parenteau notched his second shutout of the season as they rolled to a 6-0 victory over the visiting Dalhousie Tigers in a rare Saturday afternoon game. UNB is now 13-1-0 on the season, five points clear of second place. 

The Reds opened the scoring at 6:34 of the opening period when Kade Landry cut from the side boards to the slot and sent a deft backhanded pass to Brady Gilmour at the bottom of the face-off circle that Gilmour one timed past Tigers goalie Connor Hicks. James Phelan also got a helper on the goal. Samuel Dove-McFalls then made it a 2-0 game at 15:38, taking a MacAuley Carson pass from below the goal line out front and making a quick move from his forehand to backhand to put the puck into the far side of the net. Mark Rassell continued to make an impact since his return from injury with the other assist on the marker. The period would end with UNB holding a 2-0 lead while out-shooting the Tigers 10-3.

The home side turned it up a notch in the 2nd period, holding a 20-3 advantage in shots on goal and doubling their lead. At 3:27 Rassell (Willms, Carson) was somehow left all alone in front of the Tigers net with no one within 10 feet of him. Jason Willms fired a pass from the corner to the former WHL 50 goal scorer and the sniper made no mistake to push the lead to 3-0. Then, at 12:03 while on the power play, Landry walked the blue line before passing down to Nicolas Guay at the top of the right face-off circle. Guay then bumped the puck over to Phelan in the high slot for a quick slap shot that beat Hicks glove side. 

Entering the 3rd period with a 4-0 lead the final twenty minutes were merely a formality. It was the Tigers best period of the game, putting 11 shots towards Rylan Parenteau (to the Reds 12), and getting a few decent scoring chances, but it was UNB scoring two goals, both courtesy Isaac Nurse. At 7:55 Nurse (Phelan, Gilmour) speared at a loose puck that was sitting in the crease between Hicks legs to make it 5-0. He then followed up the greasy goal with one that showed off his skill, outracing a defender for the puck at the Tigers blueline and then sniping the puck into the top right corner. The final goal of the game came at 18:02 and was assisted by Joe Gatenby and Gilmour.

- Shots in the game were 42-17 for the Reds.

- Benjamin Gagne was back in the line-up on defence as Noah Carroll serves his suspension for being assessed a fighting major against St. FX.

- UNB was 1 for 6 on the power play. Dalhousie was 0 for 2.

- The Reds won 32 out of 59 face-offs with Dove-McFalls (13 out of 22) having the best day at the dot. 

- Phelan was the player of the game. Landry was second star and Gilmour was third.

- Rylan Parenteau now has 11 career shut-outs, which moves him past Reg Bourcier for second in school history. He only trails Travis Fullerton, who had 21 over his five year career.

- This is the first time UNB has won 13 out of their first 14 games since going 14-0-0 to begin the 2009-2010 season.

- Elsewhere around the conference, St. FX rebounded to pick up a 4-2 road win in Moncton and Saint Mary's won their third straight game with a decisive 6-1 win in Wolfville over Acadia. 

- The Reds are back on the road next weekend with games against Acadia on Friday night and Saint Mary's the following evening. Game time for both is 7PM and will be available on AUStv.ca.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

3rd Period Barrage Lifts Reds

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds broke open a close game with four goals in the 3rd period to pull away from the rival St. FX X-Men in what was a chippy and intense 6-2 victory tonight at the AUC. The 12-1-0 Reds have now opened up a five point lead over the second place X-Men with a game in hand. 

The start couldn't have been any better for the Reds as they grabbed a 1-0 lead before much of the large crowd, who are required to show proof of vaccination at the door, even had a chance to get into the rink. Tyler Boland got ahold of the puck behind the goal and quickly fed Nicolas Guay out front, who wasted no time one timing it past Joseph Raaymakers. Connor Hall also picked up an assist on the goal, which came only 42 seconds into the game. UNB carried the momentum throughout the period, out-shooting the X-Men 13-5, but the game would head into the intermission tied as the AUS scoring leader Liam Hawel pounced on a turnover in front of the net and beat a screened Rylan Parenteau with a wrist shot. 

It appeared the Reds were playing with fire when they handed the X-Men's dangerous power play their third opportunity of the game just over a minute into the 2nd period. However, it was Austen Keating forcing a turnover in the corner of the offensive zone and then finding James Phelan, who put the puck off the far post and in for UNB's first shorthanded goal of the season. This was the only goal of a more evenly played period with the shots being 8-7 in favour of the Reds. 

UNB put the game out of reach in the first 8+ minutes of the 3rd period, connecting three times to turn a nail-biter into a laugher. At 3:24 Keating received a Connor Hall pass in front of the visitors bench, drew three defenders to him as he skated deep into X-Men territory, and then sent a pretty backhand pass back to Guay, who was all alone in the slot and had a wide open net that he didn't miss. Only 55 seconds later Mark Rassell (Gatenby, Dove-McFalls) - returning to the line-up after missing ten games - brought the puck out from behind the goal and used his long reach to slide it past Raaymakers for his first goal of the season . Tyler Boland (Guay, Phelan) capped the outburst with a power play goal at 8:16, just getting enough of his stick on the puck at the side of the net to get it over the goal line. The Reds would pile it on with another power play goal at 14:48 when Brady Gilmour (Dove-McFalls, Rassell) deposited the puck during a scramble in front of the net. The game had been physical and chippy from the opening puck drop and it finally boiled over at the 17:32 mark after Noah Carroll took exception to a hit by William Bower. The two started jawing at each other before dropping the gloves and engaging in one of the better fights you will see in the AUS with both combatants throwing some solid punches before being broken up by the refs. Meanwhile, some of the other players who were standing around during the fight started having some words. Connor Hall saw this and skated over and cross-checked a St. FX player, which led to more fireworks. After it was all said and done the Reds were down two men for a full two minutes. On the ensuing 5-on-3 power play Zack Trott scored to make it 6-2 at the 18:09 mark. UNB would kill off the other penalty and the rest of the game was played without incident. Shots in the period were 11-4 for the Reds.     

- UNB got the services of both Mark Rassell and Rylan Parenteau back tonight. Benjamin Gagne was the lone scratch while Tanner Somers was the back-up goalie with Griffen Outhouse still injured.

- Shots were 32-16 for the Reds.

- UNB was 2 for 5 on the power play. The X-Men went 1 for 8.

- The Reds won 38 out of 58 face-offs. Both Dove-McFalls (16 out of 23) and Phelan (14 out of 18) had stand-out nights.

- Guay was named the player of the game for a second straight time. Boland and Rassell were the other two stars.

- Brady Gilmour was shaken up late in the 1st period after losing his balance and going hard into the end boards back first. After laying on the ice momentarily he was able to get up and skate off under his own power.

- Attendance was a solid 2365.

- Carroll will have a suspension coming his way. He will get at least one game for the fighting major and will most likely get more as he was also assessed an instigating penalty.

- As previously mentioned, X-Men head coach Brad Peddle missed the game due to a one game suspension he was given after last weekend's game against UPEI. 

- This was St. FX's first game at the AUC since a 6-2 loss on January 25th, 2020 - a span of 665 days.

- In fact, things have not gone well for the X-Men in Fredericton in recent years. Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 season they are now 0-7-0  and have been outscored 47-12 at the Aitken Centre. They haven't held UNB below five goals in any of those games. 

- In other AUS action tonight it was Moncton picking up a much needed 5-3 home win over Dalhousie and Saint Mary's going on the road to defeat UPEI 4-1. 

- UNB is back at home tomorrow afternoon against the Dalhousie Tigers. Please note that game time is scheduled for 4PM. 


Thursday, November 18, 2021

MacDougall, Five Reds Heading To FISU Games

Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall has been tabbed to lead Team Canada at the FISU Winter Universiades, to be held in Lucerne, Switzerland from December 11-21. This is his third time coaching at the games, already having led Team Canada to a gold medal as head coach at the 2013 games in Trentino, Italy and a gold medal as assistant coach in 2007 in Turin, Italy.  

The 23 player team will feature players from across the country, including five Reds - the most of any team. Those selected to participate are forwards Tyler Boland, Samuel Dove-McFalls, and Austen Keating, defenceman Joe Gatenby, and goaltender Rylan Parenteau. 

Other AUS player attending are F - Mitchell Balmas (SMU), D - Garrett McFadden and G - Logan Flodell (Acadia), F - Liam Hawel and F - Matthew Struthers (St. FX), and F - Kyle Maksimovich and D - Owen Headrick (UPEI).

Notably absent from the team are any players from the University of Alberta. It is expected they will participate in the annual exhibition games against the Team Canada world junior hopefuls. 

It should be noted that this is a large academic and financial commitment for these players, two factors which may have prevented otherwise strong candidates from being selected. While the games aren't overlapping with any regular season games, like they have in the past, they are taking place during the exam period. Also, it is up to each individual school to decide if they want to help their players financially.

The team is in a pool with Estonia - whom they play in their opener on December 10th, Latvia, Slovakia, and the United States. 

The women's team will include Reds head coach Sarah Hilworth in an assistant role and goaltender Kendra Woodland. 


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

U Sports Top Ten (#5): Reds On Top...Again

The Reds are once again the top ranked men's hockey team in the land, according to the latest top ten rankings released earlier today. 

The Reds posted a pair of convincing home wins over the weekend, topping Acadia 6-1 and Saint Mary's 4-1 despite missing their top two goaltenders due to injury, to run their record to 11-1-0. 

The top three remained unchanged with undefeated Saskatchewan and British Columbia staying put at number two and three. 

The Alberta Golden Bears moved up to 4th and the Ottawa Gee Gees up to 5th while the UQTR Patriotes enter the rankings for the first time since February of 2020. 

The bottom of the top ten feature Carleton, St. FX, Guelph, and Mount Royal.

Special shout-out (again) to the UNB women's hockey team who are up to 3rd in the latest rankings, behind only McGill and Saint Mary's.

Kelly Cup Returning

The University of New Brunswick Reds will resume their holiday tradition of hosting the Pete Kelly Cup this season with the McGill Redbirds providing the opposition.

The one game winner-take-all format will take place on Thursday, December 30th at 7PM at the AUC.

This will be the 16th event since the first one was held in 2006. The format has undergone a number of changes over the years, but one thing has remained constant - a UNB victory. After failing to capture the inaugural event, the Reds have won each of the last 14.

The meeting between the intra-conference foes is a significant one as it marks the first time an AUS team has played a non-conference game since the 2019 University Cup.

This will be the 15th match-up all-time between the two storied hockey programs with UNB dominating the series, winning 13 out of the previous 14 games. The biggest one, of course, was a 4-0 victory in the 2011 University Cup final at the AUC. 


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Top Line Leads Reds Over Huskies

The trio of Tyler Boland, Austen Keating, and Nicolas Guay combined for three goals and six assists as the #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds defeated the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies 4-1 tonight at the AUC. The victory caps an impressive weekend for UNB, who out-scored perennial contenders Acadia and SMU 10-2 despite being down their top two goaltenders, and improves their record to 11-1-0.

The Huskies showed more offense in the 1st period than the Axemen did the entire game the night before as they tested Tanner Somers with nine shots in the first twenty minutes. The Reds had ten shots of their own and scored the lone goal late in the period. With 1:29 remaining Austen Keating (Guay, Landry) picked up the puck in the left face-off circle, skated behind the net, and whipped the puck along the ice and into the far corner, past Huskies goalie Matt Welsh. 

After a fairly even opening period, the Reds started to tilt the ice and take control of the game in the 2nd period. UNB out-shot SMU 14-6 and scored another goal to pad their lead, but not before the Huskies had two great chances in the opening minutes of the period that Somers had to be sharp on. At 11:16, moments after Guay left the penalty box he joined the rush with his line-mates and they executed a three-on-two to perfection, working the puck from left to right across the offensive zone. Keating skated into the Huskies zone and passed back to Boland, who was the trailer on the play, and he drew the attention of the defenceman. This left Guay all alone on the right side and Boland fed him a perfect pass, with Guay finishing the sequence by snapping a shot into the top of the net. The goal gave UNB a 2-0 lead, which they would take into the intermission.

The Reds broke the game open in the opening minutes of the 3rd period. Shortly after an unsuccessful power play Guay (McCormick, Keating) got his second of the night just 19 seconds into the period, taking a pass from Keating between the hash marks and wristing it in. UNB pushed it to 4-0 at 6:11 when Boland drew three defenders to him behind the net before spotting a pinching Kade Landry out front. The rookie defenceman one-timed the puck into the far side for his first career AUS goal. The Huskies only needed 30 seconds to get that one back as Mitchell Balmas got the visitors on the board with a slap shot from about twenty feet out that beat Somers. UNB then took a pair of penalties 1:40 apart to give SMU a sliver of life, but a Huskies penalty 42 seconds later cut the second power play short and effectively ended any hope Saint Mary's had at getting back in the game. Shots in the period were 12-4 for UNB.

- The Reds went with the same line-up as the night before with Mark Rassell, who is supposedly getting very close to returning, Rylan Parenteau, and Griffen Outhouse were all scratched. Former Junior A goalie Jack Ryan was once again dressed as Somers back-up. 

- UNB out-shot SMU 36-19 on the night. 

- Both teams failed to convert on the power play. The Huskies had five chances while the Reds had two.

- Guay was named the player of the game. Keating and Somers were the other two stars.

- The Reds had a very strong night at the face-off circle, winning 45 out of 70 draws. Samuel Dove-McFalls (19 out of 26) was the stand-out, but Boland (12 out of 17) and James Phelan (10 out of 17) also had good showings. 

- Attendance was 1903.

- Neither of the other two games tonight were particularly close either. Dalhousie picked up a 5-2 win over the UPEI Panthers in Halifax and Moncton added to Acadia's rough season with a 5-1 home victory.

- The Reds are back on home ice next weekend when the St. FX X-Men and Dalhousie Tigers visit the AUC for the first time this season, on Friday night at 7PM and Saturday afternoon at 4PM respectively. The X-Men will be without forward Matthew Philip, defenceman Roddie Sandilands, and head coach Brad Peddle for their role in last night's fireworks near the end of their game against UPEI.   

Friday, November 12, 2021

Reds Trounce Axemen

If you know you are going to have to start your third string goaltender, some good strategies may be to possess the puck for the majority of the game and try to and score more goals than the opposition has shots on goal. The number one ranked University of New Brunswick Reds achieved the former and, for the first 57 minutes of the game, the latter until a late "flurry" by the visiting Acadia Axemen - which included a power play goal with 1:01 remaining to spoil Tanner Somers shutout bid. Nonetheless, the Reds skated away with a dominating 6-1 victory tonight at the AUC. 

The Reds relentless forecheck and transition game was on full display from the opening face-off as they hardly gave the shorthanded Axemen a chance to catch their breath. UNB out-shot Acadia 13-1 over the first twenty minutes and built a 2-0 lead. The game's ice-breaker came at 8:04 when Jason Willms (Casey, Carroll) got the puck just below the left face-off dot and beat reigning AUS MVP Logan Flodell with a wrist shot short side. It only took 67 seconds for the Reds to add to the lead, and essentially put the game out of reach for the offensively-challenged visitors. Tyler Boland stickhandled around a defender on his way towards the net, where he had his shot attempt stopped. However, the rebound trickled into the crease behind Flodell and Nicolas Guay was right there to pounce on the loose puck and put it in. 

The 2nd period was much of the same with UNB holding a 16-2 edge in shots on goal and adding another three goals. At 4:11 Noah Carroll - who may have played his best game in a UNB uniform tonight - skated the puck down the right boards to the goal line before making a beautiful cross-ice pass to Benjamin Gagne, who was all alone at the back door for an easy-tap in. Willms picked up the secondary assist on Gagne's first career AUS goal. Brady Gilmour (Nurse) showed off his silky mitts to make it 4-0 at 12:02, capping a lengthy shift in the Axemen zone with a perfectly placed backhanded shot off the cross-bar and in. MacAuley Carson (Gilmour, Landry) added a power play goal at 14:57 for his first career AUS goal to give the Reds a five goal cushion heading into the 3rd period.

The biggest storyline over the final twenty minutes was whether Reds goaltender Tanner Somers could complete the shut-out in his first career AUS start - and his first game action of any kind since playing for the Miramichi Timberwolves in 2018-2019. The result of the game wasn't in doubt, especially after another power play goal at 7:42 made it 6-0. After a wild sequence around Flodell that had many fans wondering "how did that not go in?!" Tyler Boland (Guay) decided to take matters in his own hands as he picked up a loose puck in the corner, curled off the boards and into the slot, and wired a hard wrist shot into the top corner. With three minutes remaining the Axemen trailed 6-0 and only had five shots on goal, but a late "outburst" generated three shots and their lone goal, a power play marker off the stick of Jack Flaman with 1:01 left in the contest that proved to be the last goal of the night. Shots in the period were 10-5 for UNB.

- Shots in the game were 39-8 for the Reds.

- UNB was still without Mark Rassell and Rylan Parenteau, who are both "week to week" according to Gardiner MacDougall. Griffen Outhouse is also injured. As a result, Jack Ryan was dressed as the emergency back-up goalie. 

- The Axemen only dressed 14 skaters as they are also ravaged with injuries. 

- UNB's much maligned power play had a good night, converting on two out of three opportunities. Acadia was 1 for 2.

- The Reds won 37 out of 58 face-offs with James Phelan (12 out of 19) leading the way. 

- Carson was named the player of the game. Carroll and Gilmour were the second and third stars respectively.

- Before the game Mark Rassell was named the recipient of this year's Rod Pike Memorial Scholarship, which is given annually to the player who shows outstanding leadership and compete level and is willing to go the extra mile for his teammates and team.

- Attendance was 2003 on a rainy night in the provincial capital. 

- Since losing to the Axemen in game 1 of the 2020 AUS Final, the Reds have gone 5-0 with a 25-3 goal differential versus Acadia. 

- After finishing in second place in 2019-2020 with a 19-9-2 record (and ending the season with a 2-5-2 stretch), the Axemen are off to a very disappointing start this season, sitting in 6th place with a 4-8-0 record. 

- Meanwhile, UNB has won 10 of their first 11 games for only the second time since 2009-2010. They started 11-0-1 in 2017-2018.

- In other conference action tonight, Saint Mary's bested Moncton 3-1 on the road and UPEI shellacked St. FX 9-1 in Charlottetown in a game that featured some fireworks in the third period, something that we never, ever see when the X-Men are getting blown out (insert sarcasm here).

- The Reds will look to replicate tonight's performance tomorrow night when they welcome the Saint Mary's Huskies to the AUC. Game time is 7PM. 


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

U Sports Top Ten (#4): Record Ranking For Reds

The University of New Brunswick Reds once again find themselves at the top of the men's hockey rankings, which were released earlier today. While that is nothing out of the ordinary given they have  topped the last 17 polls, it marks a historic ranking for the UNB program. This is the 277th consecutive poll they have appeared in, breaking the previous record held by the Alberta Golden Bears, who were ranked in every poll from November 5th, 1996 until October 18th, 2011. 

The then-Varsity Reds streak began with a 6th place ranking in the first poll of the 2005-2006 season on October 18th, 2005. Since then they have been ranked first (130 times), second (67 times), third (27), fourth (20), fifth (12), sixth (8), seventh (5), eighth (5), ninth (2), and tenth (1). Remarkably, they have only been ranked lower than 5th nine times since that 2005-2006 season.

The Reds streak isn't in immediate jeopardy. The Saskatchewan Huskies, who are ranked 2nd in the latest poll, own the next longest active streak with 22 consecutive appearances in the top ten.

The rest of the current top ten sees UBC ranked 3rd followed by St. FX, Mount Royal, Alberta, Calgary, Carleton, Ottawa, and Western.



Saturday, November 6, 2021

Reds Escape Island With Two Points

Much like their first visit to Charlottetown this season, the #1 nationally ranked University of New Brunswick Reds surrendered a late game-tying goal only to ultimately emerge victoriously. Tonight they needed a shoot-out to come away with a 3-2 victory over the UPEI Panthers, running their first place record to 9-1-0 in the process.

It was a typical PEI-style game - rough-and-tumble, physical, and not pretty at times. The home side got on the board first with Jaden Peca tipping a point shot past Griffen Outhouse 3:51 into the contest. The goal held up until the final minute of the period when, while on the power play, James McEwan got the puck along the boards deep in UPEI territory before bumping it out to Samuel Dove-McFalls, who ripped a shot into the top corner. The goal was also assisted by Kade Landry and came at the 19:09 mark. 

The Reds have struggled a bit thus far getting goal scoring production from their blue-line, entering the game with only two goals in nine games from their defenders - and one of those was an empty netter. Ross MacDougall got their third at 11:05 of the 3rd period, throwing a shot on net from the side boards near the players bench that somehow eluded Jonah Capriotti to give the visitors their first lead of the night. The Reds then had a great chance to ice the game when James Phelan had his stick slashed in half while going in on a breakaway with 2:52 remaining. He was awarded a penalty shot, but Capriotti flashed the leather to deny the potential insurance goal. That save loomed even larger when Filip Rydstrom was able to tie the game with only 1:04 remaining while Capriotti was on the bench. Connor MacEachern's point shot was blocked in front by a UNB player, but the puck deflected right on to the stick of Rydstrom, who had a wide open net to shoot at. 

The game would remain tied through the end of regulation and a fairly uneventful overtime period. In the shoot-out the Panthers elected to shoot first. Kaleb Pearson was denied by Outhouse while Tyler Boland beat Capriotti with a shot just inside the right post. Matt Brassard and James McEwan both missed their opportunities and, needing a goal to extend the game, Kyle Maksimovich had the puck roll off the end of his stick before getting a shot off, giving the Reds the victory. 

- The Reds were once again without Mark Rassell. Goaltender Rylan Parenteau also missed his fourth consecutive game. 

 - Shots in the game favoured the Panthers 31-26 with period totals of 9-9, 7-10, 12-5, and 3-2 in overtime. 

- It is rare the Reds are out-shot in a game, but we almost never see them beaten on both the shot clock and in the face-off circle. UPEI won 36 out of 70 face-offs, despite James Phelan winning 13 out of his 21 attempts. 

- UNB went 1 for 5 on the power play. The Panthers were scoreless on six opportunities with the man advantage. 

- Outhouse was named the player of the game. He is now 4-1-0 on the season with a 1.98 GAA and 0.917 save percentage.

- Attendance was 711.

- By comparison, UNB had 18 goals come from their defencemen during the 2019 - 2020 season. 

- The Reds have failed to score more than three goals in any of their last four games on the island, yet have won all four - three of them by a single goal. 

- There was only one other AUS game tonight and it saw St. FX pick up their fourth win in a row with a 7-5 home victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies. 

- Every team has now played at least 1/3 of their schedule and right now it is a two horse race at the top of the standings. The Reds are 9-1-0 for 18 points, one point ahead of the 8-2-1 St. FX X-Men. Dalhousie (11 points), UPEI (10), Saint Mary's (9), and Acadia (8) are all bunched up in the middle with Moncton (5) struggling to keep pace.

- After three straight weeks on the road, the Reds are finally back on AUC ice next weekend. They host the Acadia Axemen on Friday night and Saint Mary's Huskies the following evening. Both games are set for a 7PM start.

Offense Breaks Out In Rout

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Reds haven't been as dangerous offensively thus far compared to previous seasons, but they looked like their old selves last night in a 7-1 beating against the last place Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus in the hub city. The Reds improve to 8-1-0 on the season and maintain a one point lead atop the AUS standings. 

The Reds have been getting off to strong starts over their last few games and last night was no different. However, unlike last Saturday night when they out-shot St. FX 17-0 in the 1st period but were unable to score, they found the back of the net twice against Moncton. They opened the scoring at 6:26 when the top line came in on a 3-on-2. Austen Keating skated the puck down the left side, gave Tyler Boland a behind the back pass, and then Boland found a streaking Nicolas Guay, who had a wide open short side of the net to work with. He made no mistake, beating Emile Samson for the game's first goal. UNB quickly doubled their lead, needing only 69 seconds to make it 2-0 after Isaac Nurse (Gilmour, Phelan) beat Samson far side from a sharp angle. Although the shots in the period were 16-7 for UNB, the Aigles Bleus had a couple of great odd-man chances thanks to some questionable passes and decisions by the Reds at Moncton's blue line. Fortunately, Griffen Outhouse was up to the task and kept the game 2-0 after twenty minutes. 

The trio of Keating/Boland/Guay only needed 3:10 of the 2nd period to strike again. This time it was Boland getting the goal after he collected a rebound at the side of the net and shoveled it in. The Aigles Bleus responded quickly, narrowing the lead back to two at 5:55 with a power play goal off the stick of Nathael Roy, just eight seconds after the Reds were assessed a too many men on the ice penalty. It was the first power play goal UNB had given up this season after 41 consecutive successful kills. Moncton went right back to the power play after the goal, but the Reds were able to kill that one off and then restored the three goal advantage at 13:28 with James Phelan (Nurse, Gilmour) banging in the puck at the side of the net. UNB would take a 4-1 lead into the 3rd period after out-shooting the home side 14-5 in the period.

Phelan (Gagne, Gilmour) added his second of the game 2:52 into the final period with a wrist shot from 15 feet out that just got through Samson. At 5:05 Thomas Casey (Willms, Gagne) got his first career AUS goal after the puck came to him at the side of the net during a goal-mouth scramble. A big scorer in junior, Casey celebrated by pantomiming removing the "monkey off his back". Samuel Dove-McFalls (Gilmour, Nurse) concluded the scoring 1:01 later with a pretty re-direction from the slot. Shots in the period were 12-3 for UNB.

- UNB is still without Mark Rassell as the veteran sniper missed his 7th straight game. 

- Shots in the game were 42-15.

- The Reds power play continues to struggle, going 0 for 4 against the league's worst penalty killing unit. They are operating at a meager 13.6%, 6th in the league. Moncton was 1 for 3 with the man advantage.

- UNB won 39 out of 68 face-offs. Phelan (13 out of 24) and Dove-McFalls (11 out of 16) got the majority of the assignments.

- Attendance was 651.

- In other AUS action the St. FX X-Men rebounded from blowing a 3-1 lead to the Acadia Axemen to emerge with a 5-3 victory in Antigonish. In Halifax, the Dalhousie Tigers followed up a 6-3 win over Acadia on Wednesday with a 6-4 win against Saint Mary's.

- The Reds wrap up their stretch of six straight road games with a date with the UPEI Panthers Saturday night in Charlottetown. Game time is 7PM and it can be seen at AUStv.ca.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

U Sports Top Ten (#3): Despite Loss, Reds Remain #1

Despite suffering their first loss of the season - 4-3 against St. FX on Saturday night - the University of New Brunswick Reds retained the number one spot in the latest top ten rankings. It is the 16th straight poll the Reds have topped dating back to the 2019-2020 season. 

The Saskatchewan Huskies, who are off to a 3-0-0 start in Canada West play, are ranked second for the third straight week while their conference-mates, the UBC Thunderbirds, are up a spot to third. This is UBC's highest ranking in program history.

St. FX, fresh off of handing UNB their first loss of the season, re-enter the rankings at 4th. 

Guelph hold at five as they await their first regular season game. 

The bottom half of the rankings feature the Mount Royal Cougars, Alberta Golden Bears (who had a 53 game winning streak versus the Regina Cougars snapped with a 3-0 home loss on Saturday), Saint Mary's Huskies, Carleton Ravens, and Ryerson Rams. 

A special shout-out to the Reds women's hockey team, who were ranked 9th in the initial women's rankings of the season. It is the first time they have appeared in the rankings since the team was re-launched.