(FREDERICTON, NB) The Concordia Stingers tried to make a game of it, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Cameron Brace scored three goals to lead the UNB Varsity Reds in a 7-3 win over the visiting Stingers, in game one of the two game Pete Kelly Cup exhibition series.
Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall was pleased with his team's night. "I thought we had a really good first period, set the standard, we leveled a bit as the game went, but that happens this time of year."
Cam Braes, making his return to the Varsity Reds line-up, scored once and added three assists. "I thought he had an outstanding game," said MacDougall, of the veteran forward. "His line played very well, so lots of positives for us."
Chris Clapperton, playing his first game for the Varsity Reds, had two assists. "He was excited with the ice time he got tonight," said Coach MacDougall. "He hasn't played a lot, some nights, in the East Coast League, but he's going to be a real good addition."
Matt Boudreau, Philippe Charbonneau and Alexandros Soumakis scored for Concordia. They fought back from a 5-0 deficit, midway through the second period.
Philippe Hudon assisted on all three Concordia goals.
"We were rusty. We were really rusty," said Stingers head coach Marc-Andre Element, of his team's slow start. "We had good progression during the game and we had a good third period, so we have to build on that and be ready for tomorrow."
Brace opened the scoring, just 1:46 in, snapping a Clapperton pass by Stingers netminder Miguel Sullivan.
Beauvillier and Trainor made it 3-0 UNB before the game was seven minutes old, forcing Element to call a time-out.
Murray's goal, at 15:48, sent the home team to the first intermission sporting a 4-0 lead.
The Varsity Reds extended their lead to five goals, before Boudreau got Concordia on the board.
With UNB up 6-1 to start the third, the Stingers showed some life.
They put bodies in front of VReds netminder Etienne Marcoux and it paid off.
Charbonneau scored on a power-play point shot that trickled into the UNB net. Less than four minutes later, Soumakis got a couple of whacks at a loose puck, eventually pushing it past Marcoux.
"I told them, if you want to have success, you have to get dirty and get pucks on net and crash the net," said Element. "We need to do that for 60 minutes, not 20."
Brace capped the scoring… and his hat-trick… at 16:05 of the third. Left alone in the slot, he converted another Clapperton pass.
Game two of the exhibition series, presented by Peterbilt Atlantic, goes Sunday afternoon.
Game time is 1:00PM, at the Aitken University Centre.