V-Reds defeat Team Russia to win Pete Kelly Cup Challenge

V-Reds defeat Team Russia to win Pete Kelly Cup Challenge
FREDERICTON, N.B. - The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men's hockey team locked up the 8th Annual Peterbilt Atlantic Kelly Cup Challenge on New Year's Eve, with a 5-2 win over the Russian Red Stars before a sold out crowd of 3,450 at the Aitken University Centre in Fredericton.

V-Reds captain Chris Culligan led the scoring with three assists in the game, while Dan LaCosta stopped 22 shots in the win.

UNB picked up right where they left off from Sunday night's 7-3 win, but fell into early penalty trouble, earning three penalties within two and a half minutes, giving Team Russia a 5-on-3.

But two great shot blocks by Bryce Swan, and newly-acquired V-Red Tim Priamo, kept the game scoreless as UNB killed off the three minute-long penalty kill.

Cam Critchlow opened the scoring at the 16-minute mark of the first period, taking a feed from Dion Campbell in the corner, and wristing a low shot past a screened Sergei Mashkovtcev. Colby Pridham also earned an assist on the play.

In the second period, UNB went to work on the power play, and with Cam Braes playing on the point, he fired a shot into traffic which Nick MacNeil redirected putting UNB up 2-0.

Midway through the period, Stefan Salituro gave UNB a three-goal lead with a great individual effort, stickhandling into the Russian zone, through the slot, and wristed a shot blocker-side. Antoine Houde-Caron and Taylor MacDougall picked up assists on the goal.

Both teams upped the physicality late in the second period and through the third, but a minute into the final frame Bryce swan put UNB up 4-0 with help from Culligan and Adrian Robertson.

UNB's top line were back at work midway through the period as Culligan took the puck deep into the corner, and fed an open Carroll for a one-timer. Mashkovtcev made the initial stop, but Carroll buried his own rebound with Bryce Swan also earning an assist.

Thirty-two seconds later, Russia put one up on the board, capitalizing on a UNB turnover in the neutral zone. Kirill Tambiev fed Miks Lipsbergs along the side-boards, who took the puck two strides across the blue line and wristed a shot along the ice, beating LaCosta five-hole.

With UNB again in penalty trouble, giving up another 5-on-3, Russia capitalized while working outside the perimeter. Roman Berdnikov fed Daniil Bogdanov across the blue line, who fired a low one-timer past a screened LaCosta.

Berdnikov, who was the only player on the Red Stars to have played Major Junior in the Canadian Hockey League, winning an OHL championship with the Owen Sound Attack, said though he knew what to expect with regards to playing against Canadian opponents, some of the other players on the team may have suffered jitters from playing on Canadian soil for the first time.

"For some guys, [this tournament] was their first time playing in Canada," said Berdnikov. "We were still a little bit nervous in the first period, but this team played well I thought. We've had a long trip too, we drove 10 hours on the bus before yesterday's game, and we had a slow start tonight."

Meanwhile, V-Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall described this year's Kelly Cup Challenge as "special" because it was New Year's Eve, and of course because it was the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, and the timing of the Canada-Russia game at the World Junior Hockey Championships earlier that day.

"Each year we try and up the ante for the Kelly Cup Challenge," said MacDougall. "We started the tournament playing AUS teams, then we got NCAA teams, then we got the NCAA champions Boston College in, and then to have a Russian team is really special."

The tournament Most Valuable Player was Dion Campbell, who totalled one goal and two assists in his first two games back with UNB.
Tournament All-Star Team
F - Nick MacNeil (UNB)
F - Danil Fayzullin (RUS)
F - Dion Campbell (UNB)
D - Daniil Bogdanov (RUS)
D - Ben Shutron (UNB)
G - Dan LaCosta (UNB)