The UNB Varsity Reds men's hockey team was looking to continue a three-game winning streak when they met Moncton's Aigles Bleus on home ice tonight and they did just that, posting a convincing 9-2 win in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd which included several local elementary schools.
UNB expands their winning streak to four games with a record of 12-2-2 and moves to first place in the AUS. Moncton has lost their last six games and after a strong first half of the season now moves to a record of 6-8-2.
The Varsity Reds didn't waste any time taking control of the game in tonight's match-up and were up 5-0 by the end of the first period. The goals came early and they came in clusters, as Moncton barely had time to regroup before the puck was in the net again.
Just over thirty seconds later it was 2-0 UNB, when Maillet set up another goal, taking the puck behind the net and handing it off to Philippe Halley who tapped it in. Less than two and half minutes in, UNB had scored two goals on their first two shots of the hockey game.
Less than sixty seconds would pass before Dylan Willick slipped a straight-on shot underneath the pads of Moncton goaltender Brandon Thibeau, and the V-Reds were up 5-0. Peter Trainor and Cam Critchlow had the assist that time. UNB ended the first period in a dominant fashion, with 17 shots to Moncton's four. It was an extremely fast period, with no penalties and no icing.
The second period started off with UNB maintaining control of play. At 8:14, Moncton took advantage of a power play opportunity to get on the board. Pier-Antoine Dion had the goal at 9:21. Assists went to twins Alex and Allain Saulnier. It's Dion's fifth goal of the season.
Les Aigles Bleus got a bit of wind under their wings with a goal under their belt, and suddenly we had a hockey game again. Late in the third, UNB had a bunch of chances in front of the Moncton net. It would be Willick who would finally put in it for the V-Reds' sixth goal and his second of the game. Trainor and Critchlow had the assist again, this time at 16:26.
Exactly twenty seconds later Moncton answered back with their second goal of the night. Remi Blanchard put it in the net, with an assist from Maxime Pilon and Alex Noel. The second period would end with UNB leading 6-2.
The third period got underway with the V-Reds flying. Braes hit the post around two minutes in and Moncton had a great chance not long after. At around the five minute mark, a shot from Brace would bounce off a Moncton defenceman and find its way in, giving UNB its seventh goal. Assists went to Jordan Murray and Tyler Carroll.
The Varsity Reds would score twice more to seal the deal. Murray would get his sixth goal of the season at 15:31 with the assist from Randy Gazzola and Trainor. With just under two minutes to go in the third, MacDougall would get his second of the game. Assists went to Beauvillier and Colin Suellentrop. UNB would take the game 9-2.
Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall says it's a promising end to the first half of the season.
"You look at the first half, we had a lot of growth as a team," MacDougall said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but we're starting to perform in some of the ways that we want."
"When we get back we've got the Peterbilt Pete Kelly Cup against Windsor, which will be a good test. Right now they're the top team of record in Ontario, so it will be a good test for us when we get back in early January."
The Varsity Reds play next on January 3 when they host Windsor at 7pm.
Les Aigles Bleus play next on January 9 when they host STU at 7pm as well.
Photo courtesy of Brian Smith.