Carroll nets two in 4-2 win

Carroll nets two in 4-2 win
With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Varsity Reds forward Tyler Carroll won a footrace down ice and, on a breakaway, went forehand-backhand and buried the game-winning goal top shelf, lifting UNB to a 4-2 win over the Acadia Axemen on Saturday night at the Aitken University Centre, and into a tie atop the Atlantic University Sport standings.

The nationally fourth ranked Varsity Reds came into the game two points behind the nationally second ranked Axemen in the AUS standings, and found success on special teams in what both coaches and players called "a playoff-atmosphere game."

V-Reds captain Chris Culligan opened the scoring with 36 seconds left in the first period on a shorthanded breakaway. Nick MacNeil started the play, creating a turnover in the neutral zone, poke-checking the puck up to Culligan who then beat Acadia goaltender Peter DiSalvo short-side for his fourth goal of the year.

In the second period with UNB on a power play, Marc-Antoine Desnoyers quickly capitalized on an Acadia line change, and fed a streaking Colby Pridham, creating a 4-on-1 for the Varsity Reds. Pridham hit the brakes in the faceoff circle to the left of DiSalvo, and fed an open Cam Braes across the slot who fired a one-timer past DiSalvo putting UNB up 2-0.

However Acadia answered a minute later as Alex Beaton took a Brett Thompson pass from behind the net, and swung it back to an open Christopher Owens at the point. Owens fired a perfect one-timer into the top-left corner, past a screened Daniel LaCosta for his AUS-leading fifth goal among defensemen.

Midway through the third period Acadia tied the game, scoring again from the blue line. Dustin Ekelman reversed a pass to Leo Jenner at the point, who fired a low-shot through traffic beating a screened LaCosta for his third of the year.

With UNB up 3-2 after Carroll's go-ahead goal, the Varsity Reds capitalized on an Alex Beaton tripping penalty. Culligan created a turnover in Acadia's zone, and fed Carroll in the hash marks who wired home his second of the game, and third goal on the weekend. Carroll was named the game's first star.

DiSalvo stopped 28 shots in his first loss of the season while Acadia were outshot 32-26.

Axemen head coach Darren Burns said he was pleased with the effort his team showed, and though after a slow first period, his team didn't quit for the remaining 40 minutes.

"I thought we got better as the game went on," said Burns. "As a coach something you like to see is no quit in your team, and we certainly didn't see any quit tonight."

Meanwhile Culligan, who had a five-point weekend in the two wins, said when in a battle for first place, the key was to have a good start.

"We focused on the first five minutes and tried to set the pace," said Culligan. "It was a good foundation for us for the rest of the game after the first period. It's always good to have those games where first place is on the line. We knew it was going to be a big one and it was definitely a payoff atmosphere."

Desnoyers had a game-high six shots in the win and earned third star honours, while Culligan earned second star honours for his two-point performance.

UNB, now 9-3-0, is on a four-game winning streak, and with the win snapped Acadia's five-game winning streak, dropping them to 9-3-0 as well.
Paid attendance at the Aitken Centre was 2,441.