This past weekend was an important one for the UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team.
Riding a seven-game winning streak, the V-Reds were looking to solidify their spot atop the Atlantic University Sport standings with wins over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men and Saint Mary’s Huskies. They delivered, posting a 3-0 win on Friday and 3-1 victory on Saturday.
On Friday night against the X-Men, David Shantz started between the pipes for the Varsity Reds and was opposed by Drew Owsley. The first period was scoreless with UNB outshooting StFX 9-3. 2:43 into the second period, forward Dana Fraser put the Reds in front 1-0. Philippe Halley and Philippe Maillet drew the assists on the goal. Four minutes later, UNB doubled their lead as Halley put the puck past Owsley to make it 2-0. Maillet notched his second assist of the game on the goal and Adrian Robertson had the secondary assist. Shots were 15-10 in UNB’s favour in the second frame.
UNB led StFX 2-0 until Cam Braes scored his fifth goal of the season 8:57 into the third period. StFX failed to take advantage of their seven power play opportunities and were held off the score sheet. The Reds outshot the X-Men 38-20 in the 3-0 shutout win. With the victory, UNB’s win streak extended to eight games.
On Saturday night, UNB hosted Saint Mary’s on Military Appreciation Night. Playing in front of many members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, Shantz made his second start in as many days for the Varsity Reds. Anthony Peters was in goal for the Huskies. The first period remained scoreless until Maillet continued his hot streak with a goal to put UNB in front 1-0. The goal came with 18 seconds remaining in the opening period. Dylan Willick and Adrian Robertson assisted the goal that gave UNB the momentum heading into the intermission.
The play in the second period opened up as Saint Mary’s began to generate several nice scoring chances. UNB took a string of penalties in the second period, which proved costly. Shantz was up to the task until Huskies captain Matt Tipoff scored the equalizer on the power play 12 minutes into the period. The second period ended with the score deadlocked at 1-1 with SMU outshooting UNB 15-9.
The top line of Halley-Fraser-Maillet continued their domination with Halley putting the Varsity Reds back in the lead just over a minute into the final period. Fraser and Maillet drew the assists on the go-ahead goal. With fives minutes left in the game, the Huskies were buzzing as they were seeking to tie the game tying goal but Shantz was not willing to allow that to happen. The Reds netminder made several crucial stops in the final minutes of the game to keep UNB in the lead, highlighted by a huge save on a partial breakaway with 1:45 left in the game. The Reds were able to hold off the Huskies late attack and Fraser potted an empty net goal with one second remaining in the game to ensure the 3-1 victory for the home team. UNB outshot SMU 38-27.
The win extended the Varsity Reds winning streak to nine games. UNB’s next action is this weekend when they go on the road to take on Dalhousie and Acadia.