For the first time this pre-season, the UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team was involved in a tight game on Friday night.
The end result was a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus in front of 1,593 at the Aitken Centre. The win improved UNB’s Atlantic University Sport (AUS) pre-season record to 3-0, having previously defeated St. Thomas University 4-0 and Nipissing University 11-1.
Tyler Carroll and Cam Braes scored for the Reds. Goaltenders David Shantz made nine saves in 40 minutes of action while Chris Carrozzi made four in the final 20 minutes.
JF Plante had Moncton’s lone goal. Goaltender Brandon Thibeau made 28 saves in the loss.
The V-Reds opened the scoring just 6:39 into the contest while on a power play. Parked at the top of the circle, Carroll took a pass from the middle of the blue line from Randy Gazzola and fired a hard shot through some traffic and past Thibeau to make it 1-0 UNB.
Late in the period while shorthanded, Carroll had another great chance but fired a hard wrist shot through a screen and just wide of the net.
Neither team had that many quality scoring chances in the opening frame. Shots were 10-4 in favour of the V-Reds.
On a power play at 3:51 of the second, UNB made it 2-0. Braes took a pass and was left alone in front of the net and slid the puck past Thibeau to make it 2-0 Reds.
At 4:07 of the second stanza, Danick Emond received five-minute major and game misconduct for a cross check on Dylan Willick. The Reds couldn’t generate a whole lot on the lengthy man advantage though and the game remained 2-0.
The Aigles Bleus got on the board at 13:19. Following a UNB turnover in the neutral zone, Plante fired a wrist shot from inside the circle and past Shantz to make it a 2-1 game.
Early in the third, Cam Critchlow had a great chance in front but was denied by Thibeau. UNB had several terrific chances throughout the period — even hitting a few posts — but could not add to their lead.
With just over a minute left, UdeM pulled their goaltender while on a power play to create a six-on-four advantage. They were able to create a few chances but could not connect, falling 2-1 to the Reds.
Shots in the game were 30-14 in favour of the Reds.
UNB will cross the border later this week and take on Boston College and the University of Maine this weekend. The V-Reds visit the Eagles on Saturday night and then faceoff against the Black Bears on Sunday.
The Reds begin the AUS regular season on Oct. 11 in Charlottetown against the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. UNB’s home opener is on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. against the Dalhousie Tigers.