V-Reds punch ticket to finals against Saint Mary's

V-Reds punch ticket to finals against Saint Mary's
SASKATOON, SK - The University of New Brunswick men's hockey team punched their ticket to the finals Saturday night at the Credit Union Centre, pulling out a 8-3 win over l'Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières. The V-Reds are now set to take on the Saint Mary's Huskies in a rematch of the Atlantic University Sport championship.

"It's an exciting opportunity," said head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "It didn't matter who we play. Anytime you get to the national finals, those are special games to play in. I think it's a credit to the AUS."

Nick MacNeil, Tyler Carroll and Bryce Swan each netted a pair in the win, while Thomas Nesbitt and Dion Campbell rounded out the score sheet.

Félix Petit, Pierre-Olivier Morin and Maxime Paquet-Gravel all scored for the Patriotes, who were fighting a team-wide flu bug which hit captain and CIS defenseman of the year Pierre-Luc Lessard harder than others. He played limited minutes and UNB capitalized with great puck possession down low.

The game got off to a wild start, with six goals in the first 10 minutes. UNB opened the scoring 45 seconds into the game, with MacNeil redirecting an Adrian Robertson point shot, then two minutes later Bryce Swan netted his first of the tournament, putting UNB up 2-0 and forcing Patriotes head coach Gilles Bouchard to call a timeout.

Bouchard told his team to relax and that there was lots of time left, and following the timeout they scored a minute later on the power play, with Petit taking the puck into the V-Reds zone and ripping a slap shot top corner on goalie Dan LaCosta.

A minute and a half later UQTR tied it up with Morin jumping all over a loose puck in the crease to bang home the equalizer, then four minutes later les Patriotes took the lead with Gravel crashing the net off a Lessard point shot.

But a minute and a half later Carroll cleaned up the garbage in front, off a Chris Culligan shot in the slot, for his second of the tournament.

The rest of the game was all UNB, scoring five unanswered goals, while outshooting UQTR 33-13 in the final two periods.

Campbell scored the game-winner five minutes into the second, after Daine Todd took the puck around the net and dished it to MacNeil for a quick shot. Goalie Marc-Antoine Gelinas made the first stop, but Campbell whacked in the rebound through Gelinas' five-hole.

Forward Colby Pridham will now get a chance to play in the University Cup finals, as when Saint Mary's won it in 2010, he was injured and didn't get to play.

"I've been waiting for this since that game," said Pridham. "It was really heartbreaking for me to find out that I couldn't actually play and I was really looking forward to it. It felt a lot better that we won and I got to touch the trophy, but I haven't lifted it yet so I want to get it over my head."

Sunday will be the fourth all-time all-AUS University Cup final; all four fe:atured UNB. The last was in 2007 against l'Université de Moncton. Puck drop is 5:30 local time (8:30 Atlantic) on Sportsnet One or www.CIS-SIC.tv