The UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team extended its undefeated streak to four wins on Saturday night with a 6-2 victory over the UPEI Panthers.
The game marked the team’s return to home ice after a two-game road trip, which saw them defeat the Panthers at UPEI by a score of 5-3 before earning a 2-0 victory in a low-scoring game against Moncton.
As the road trip came to an end, it was announced that third-year V-Red forward Stephen Anderson had been named USports’ male athlete of the week after racking up five goals in his first three games played.
Rookie goaltender Rylan Parenteau got the first start of his university career for UNB against the Panthers, in place of third-year starter Alex Dubeau.
The game’s first period of play saw the Varsity Reds control much of the action, but they were continually denied by UPEI Panthers fourth-year goalie Matt Mahalak.
Looking particularly dangerous for UNB in the first period was rookie forward Tyler Boland, who had several high-quality scoring chances throughout—but was unable to find a way past Mahalak.
Conversely, UPEI was able to take advantage their limited chances in the period, as first-year forward Kameron Kielly scored at 13:48, giving his team a 1-0 lead. This score would hold for the remainder of the period, despite UNB pressing the action and outshooting the Panthers 16 – 7.
UNB finally found a way to get the puck past Mahalak less than two minutes into the second period. Second-year forward Oliver Cooper managed to score his second goal of the season to tie the game up at one.
Forward Christopher Clapperton then gave the V-Reds the lead just minutes later on the powerplay, beating Mahalak with a top-shelf goal to make the score 2-1. He would add another powerplay goal in the final minute of the second period and UNB entered the second intermission with a 34-13 advantage in shots-on-goal.
The third period saw the floodgates continue to open for the Varsity Reds, as they continued to find ways to convert their advantage in scoring chances into goals. PEI native Stephen Anderson kicked the period off with a goal mere minutes into the final frame, while Mark Simpson and Matt Murphy would score later to add further insurance as UNB walked away with a 6-2 victory.
Christopher Clapperton was named the game’s first star, finishing with two goals, an assist and a +3 rating.
After the game, UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall credited the team’s win to their lack of frustration in the face of Mahalak’s strong goaltending.
“It was a matter of persistence and staying with the plan. I thought we had a lot of good opportunities in the first [period]; obviously, he’s a top-notch goaltender and you have to wear him down—and we were fortunate enough to be able to do that,” he said.
UNB will now head back on the road for two games against Acadia and Saint Mary’s before returning home on Oct. 27 to play the Axemen again.