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V-Reds and Tommies duke it out in Battle of the Hill

The Varsity Reds and the St. Thomas University (STU) Tommies met Friday night for the third, Battle of the Hill this season, in the 22nd annual Mark Jeffrey Memorial Game.

Jeffrey was a former player and coach of the V-Reds. Since his death in 1991, an annual scholarship called the Mark Jeffrey Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to a deserving player at the annual Mark Jeffrey Game.

This year’s recipient was V-Reds forward Nick MacNeil, who has had great success this season – including his time in Trentino, Italy, for the 2014 Winter Universiade.

“It’s a tremendous honour,” said MacNeil. “Everyone in the dressing room knew how important this game was – we kept the tradition alive tonight for [Jeffrey].”

Before the game, Jeffrey’s family were invited to centre ice for the opening ceremonies and award presentation, followed by the ceremonial puck drop done by Jeffrey’s father, Jim Jeffrey.

As the game began, the V-Reds quickly fell behind with two back-to-back goals scored by Tommies forward Matt Bissonnette, each coming within the first four minutes.

Both teams battled back and forth for the rest of the period, but the Tommies held a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The second period began with a Tommies goal from forward Stephen Stanza to give them a 3-0 lead, but the V-Reds weren’t long responding with a goal of their own as forward Philippe Maillet scored just a minute later to make it 3-1.

The rest of the second period was back and forth as V-Reds forward Philippe Halley scored a shorthanded goal, bringing it to a 3-2 game, followed by Stephen Stanza’s second of the night. The score now 4-2 going into the final minutes of the second period, V-Reds captain Chris Culligan gave them hope going, bringing the score to 4-3.

With 7:48 left in the game, UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall called a timeout to let his players regroup, proving to work in their favour as a power play goal scored by V-Reds defenseman, Jordan Murray, tied the game up.

It’s now 4-4.

The V-Reds took their first lead of the night with just 4:03 remaining in the game, making the score 5-4, thanks to forward Cam Braes.
Down by a goal, the Tommies pulled their goalie leaving the net wide open for V-Reds forward Dylan Willick to put the game away with a final score of 6-4.

This win added to their six-game winning streak.

The next V-Reds home game will be Friday, Jan. 31 against fifth place St. Francis Xavier University as part of UNB’s Think Pink weekend.

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