(FREDERICTON, NB) Randy Gazzola’s goal 7:46 into overtime gave the UNB Varsity Reds a 4-3 win over the St.FX X-Men, in AUS hockey action, at the Aitken Centre.
St.FX X-Men came to town with a 1-0 record to take on the Varsity Reds, who also began the night 1-0.
It was a fast first period, both teams playing transition hockey. Lots of dump and chase made for many battles on the boards and some rough stuff from both teams.
While only four penalty calls were made in the first period, it was Chris Caissy paying the highest price. He went to the box on a 10 minute major penalty for contact to the head penalty.
St.FX capitalized on a Cameron Brace penalty, taking only four seconds to pop their first goal past UNB goalie Etienne Marcoux. Eric Locke beat Marcoux off a face-off in the UNB zone.
UNB got on the board in the second period when Francis Beauvillier beat X goalie Drew Owsley.
Three minutes later, X used the power play to take the lead again. Blake Gal used a screen to beat the UNB netminder.
But, with less than 3 minutes to play in the second, Cameron Brace evened things again, sending the teams to the second intermission with the score tied at two a piece.
Just over two minutes into the third period, Craig Dunnick put the X-Men back in front.
Rob Mignardi was next to score in this see-saw battle. After saving the puck from crossing the blue line, Mignardi turned and fired a rocket, just under the blocker of Owlsey, to tie the game again. “I saw a lane open up, and then I figured I might as well take a shot and see what happens and luckily it went in,” said Mignardi.
“I’m a fifth year guy and an assistant captain on the team, so I have to play my part to make sure I’m leading the team in the right direction.”
The Varsity Reds dominated the overtime frame, outshooting the X-Men 12-3 in almost eight minutes of extra hockey.
Gazzola’s heroics, on a blast from the blue line, give UNB the extra point.
“I just shot it,” said the Gazzola. “It’s a spot, both goalies have told me, if you put it there, the pad is down so it’s hard for them to get their blocker on, but the more you do it, hopefully it’s gonna happen and tonight I was fortunate enough that it did.”
“I knew we had to get a lot [shots] to beat Owsley, he’s one of the best goalies in the league and there is a reason why.”
The Varisty Reds get a quick rest before hosting the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday night.
BY MICHAEL BOURGEOIS FOR UNB COMMUNICATIONS