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.