V-Reds clinch playoff berth with 7-0 win over STU

V-Reds clinch playoff berth with 7-0 win over STU
The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men's hockey team are off to the Atlantic University Sport playoffs. The V-Reds clinched a playoff berth Wednesday night, with a 7-0 win over the St. Thomas Tommies in the 201st all-time meeting between the two teams.
UNB hosted its annual Mark Jeffrey Memorial game, in honour of the former UNB player and coach, and awarded the Mark Jeffrey Memorial Scholarship to V-Reds captain Chris Culligan. It's the first time in three years the scholarship has been awarded to a lone recipient.

Culligan stepped up in the win, posting two assists to add to his team-leading totals, and said his teammates had a little boost in their play because of the meaning behind the game.

"It's pretty special," said Culligan on winning the award. "We make a point to remember the guys who paved the way for us. Mark was pretty special, and [before the game] they'll put up some articles about him and we'll get some emails from past guys who have won the award, and guys who played with him. So from all that stuff you get a sense of what kind of person he was. So all that helps when you're going into a game like this."

Travis Fullerton recorded his 20th career shutout as a V-Red, also his second in a row, while UNB outshot STU 50-9 in the game.

Bryce Swan had a three-point night for UNB, scoring two goals and adding an assist, while defenseman Ben Wright picked up an assist and was a team-high +6.

Matt Fillier opened the scoring just 17 seconds into the game, taking a Culligan 2-on-1 cross-pass, and burying his third goal of the year. UNB led 1-0 after the first period while outshooting STU 17-2 in the frame.

UNB upped the offence in the second period, scoring three goals in four minutes. First, Tyler Carroll netted his team-high 15th goal of the year, capitalizing on a Marc-Antoine Desnoyers takeaway.

Two minutes later, Ben Shutron took an Antoine Houde-Caron pass at the point, and threw an off-balance slap shot through traffic, beating Tommies goalie Jonathan Groenheyde for his second of the year.

A minute and a half later, Bryce Swan was left wide open in the slot, and Nick MacNeil found him with a pass across the slot, with Swan burying his eighth of the year by stickhandling Groenheyde out of position.

Later in the second, Cam Braes buried the rebound off a Ben Wright shot for his eighth of the season.

A minute into the  third, Swan scored his second of the game, as he and Nick MacNeil broke out 2-on-1 down ice. MacNeil fed a streaking Swan, but before the puck reached Swan, he was hauled down by the STU defensemen. While falling to the ice, Swan got a stick on the puck to tap it past Groenheyde, before crashing into the goal post.

Antoine Houde-Caron added another for UNB midway through the period, as UNB sealed its 34th straight win against St. Thomas.

With the win UNB remains atop the AUS standings, one point ahead of the Saint Mary's Huskies, who also clinched a playoff berth with a 3-0 win over Dalhousie.