FREDERICTON, NB – The UNB Varsity Reds opened up their AUS season with an 8-2 win over the UPEI Panthers tonight at the Aitken University Centre.
Prior to the start of the game the Varsity Reds held a special ceremony to raise the 2014-15 Atlantic University Sport Championship banner to the roof of the Aitken Centre.
"I think the guys were really excited. We had a great pre-season but now you play for the real two points and I think it's a pretty special night when you get to protect what we earned last year," said head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
The first goal of the night came from UNB's Cam Brace (Markham, ON) after Dylan Willick won the faceoff deep in the UNB Zone at 1:42 of the first period. Phillipe Halley and Marcus McIvor were credited with the assists.
The Varsity Reds were quick to score again as Peter Trainer (Fredericton, NB) put a second one in the net with the help of Phillipe Maillet and Halley.
The third goal of the period saw Francis Beauvillier (Markham, ON) with a one-timer over Mavric Parks' blocker side. It was Chris Caissy with the assist.
In a skirmish in the dying seconds of the first UNB's Randy Gazolla was called on a penalty to give UPEI the man advantage to start the second.
Parks would face 13 shots in the first while UNB's Etienne Marcoux would face just five.
UNB's Beauvillier was sent to the sin bin for interference along with Brace for unsportsmanlike conduct to give the Panthers a 5 on 3 advantage - and take advantage they did, as Brent Andrews (Hunter River, PEI) ripped a one-timer past Marcoux
Four minutes into the second Bouvillier was called for slashing to give the Panthers another power play but they were denied any scoring opportunity as Boudens stole the puck at the blue line to set up a two on one with Taylor MacDougall. Parks made a great save to deny MacDougall's shot from close in.
The two Phils assisted to give UNB goal number four at 7:20 of the second. Halley picked up the puck in the neutral zone and passed to Maillet, who drew in the Panther defense and fed Gazolla at the top of the circle for the goal.
Goal five started in the UNB defensive zone as Critchlow sent a superb stretch pass to MacDougall who scored low on Parks' glove side.
The UNB power play had just ended when Boudens circled out of the corner and slid a backhand pass to Matt Petgrave at the center of the UPEI blue line. Petgrave fired a hard slap shot that blew by Parks on his glove side and made it 6-1.
UPEI switched goaltenders as Connor Wilkinson came in to replace Parks and made five good saves mostly down low in the slot to deny UNB any further goals in the period.
Shots on goal at the end of the second were 28-11 to the Varsity Reds.
In the third period UNB scored a couple of goals by Brace and Halley in less than two minutes to bring the score to 8-1.
The Panthers managed to get their second and the final goal of the game at 17:46 as Casey Babineau (Truro, NS) fired a loose puck past Marcoux from a scramble in front of the net.
The final score was 8-2 for the Varsity Reds. Shots on goal were 36-21 in UNB's favour.
"We've got a lot of energy and momentum from our pre-season and we had a good week of practice and it carried over to tonight. I thought we had a real solid start and got better as the game went on. We had key penalty kills when it was important and power play came through with some big goals for us," said MacDougall.
The three stars of the game were UNB's Phillipe Maillet, Francis Bouvillier and Phillipe Halley.
UNB's next game is Friday, October 16th as they take on St.FX at 7pm at the Aitken University Centre.