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.