Make it six straight wins for the UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team.
The Varsity Reds defeated the UPEI Panthers 3-1 on Friday night at the Aitken Centre and then traveled to Moncton on Sunday to down the Aigles Bleus 5-0.
The wins improved UNB’s Atlantic University Sport record to 14-2-2, putting them one-point ahead the Acadia Axemen for first place.
Dana Fraser, Tyler Carroll and Philippe Maillet all scored for the Varsity Reds on Friday night while David Shantz made 18 saves in net. Maillet and Philippe Halley also added two assists.
“I thought it was a good, hard fought battle which you expect. We had a great opponent,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “They play hard and I thought we had some good opportunities. We got the lead which I think is a real key and we had chances to extend it. We had to wait until the end to get the extension but I thought overall [it was] a pretty solid effort against a real good opponent.”
Chris Desousa scored UPEI’s lone goal. Mavric Parks was excellent in net, making 32 saves and keeping the game close.
“It was a tight game of the scoreboard but they definitely out chanced us,” Panthers head coach Forbes MacPherson said. “The best player on the ice was our goalie and that’s why it was a tight game.”
Fraser, making his Varsity Reds debut against his former team, opened the scoring at 11:46 of the first. The Panthers, despite being outshot 12-6 in the opening frame, had a few good scoring chances that they couldn’t quite finish.
UNB made it 2-0 on a power play at 16:21 of the second as Carroll tipped a Jordan Murray shot. The Panthers quickly got back within one though with Desousa netting a power play marker at 18:31. Shots were 15-6 in favour on UNB in the second.
Both goaltenders were sharp in the third period and neither team could capitalize on power play opportunities. Maillet’s empty netter with 22 seconds left sealed the deal for the Varsity Reds. Final shots were 35-19 UNB.
On Sunday, Cam Braes opened the scoring just 1:36 into the game. A shorthanded goal from Halley at 11:14 gave the Varsity Reds a 2-0 lead after one. Despite scoring twice, UNB was outshot 20-12 by UdeM in the opening frame.
In the second, Alex Wall connected at 8:15 to make it 3-0. Then at 13:27, Francis Beauvillier scored UNB’s second shorthanded goal of the game to give the Reds a commanding 4-0 advantage after 40 minutes. Shots in the second stanza were 20-3 in favour of the visitors.
In the third, Cam Critchlow scored at 14:53 to make it a 5-0 final. Shots were 42-32 in favour of UNB overall. Chris Carrozzi got a rare start in net and made 32 saves for the shutout.
This coming week is a big one for the Varsity Reds. After taking on the St. Thomas Tommies at the Grant*Harvey Centre on Wednesday, the Reds host the StFX X-Men on Friday and Saint Mary’s Huskies on Saturday. All games start at 7 p.m.