High five: UNB wins national championship

Nick Murray – The Brunswickan

March 19th, 2013

Photo by Raisa Pezderic - The Sheaf

Photo by Raisa Pezderic – The Sheaf

SASKATOON – Make it five for the University of New Brunswick men’s hockey team!

The V-Reds captured their fifth national championship, and fourth in seven years, taking down archrivals Saint Mary’s University Huskies 2-0, Sunday night in Saskatoon.

Daine Todd and tournament MVP Tyler Carroll, each scored for UNB in the lowest-scoring University Cup final in the 51-year history of the tournament, while player of the game, Dan LaCosta, stopped all 17 SMU shots for his third shutout of the playoffs in what’s most likely his final game in competitive hockey.

“It’s been an incredible journey with this group of guys, and it feels great to go out on top,” said LaCosta. “Aside from getting engaged, [going back to school] was the best decision I ever made. It was totally worth it; it gave me a totally different perspective on life, and it gave me a chance to really enjoy playing the game again.”

Todd opened the scoring for UNB midway through the first period on the power play, jarring in a loose puck in goalie Anthony Peters’ five-hole from a shot from Nick MacNeil.

With ten seconds left in the game, Carroll threw a 100-foot shot down ice into the empty net, and as soon as the puck crossed the line, the team swarmed the bench in celebration. Even LaCosta left his crease to get in on it.

Captain Chris Culligan had a Joe Sakic-like moment Sunday night, giving the University Cup trophy to Dion Campbell and Colby Pridham to hoist first before everyone else.

“Those guys have been a huge part of our success and that line alone has driven the team,” said Culligan. “Very deserving to both of those guys. All of us older guys, we want the new guys to win, especially Prids playing Saint Mary’s in the finals when he made a tough decision to come to our school, and Dion coming back second half and having the Cup in Saskatchewan; we had lots of motivation.”

Head coach Gardiner MacDougall went to the Pridham-MacNeil-Culligan trio to start the game, and rolled back on the ice after every TV timeout. MacDougall said all three played key roles in helping the V-Reds win, in only the fifth shutout in a University Cup final.

“[MacNeil, Pridham, and Campbell] are three real special players,” said MacDougall. “For a guy like Pridham to come in and get an assistant captain with our group – and we have a lot of leaders – Is just outstanding.”

“Dion has well earned everything he’s done from his fitness level and what he’s meant for our program; he’s created his own legacy here, and for him to raise that trophy in his home province…you couldn’t write a better script.”

“Nick MacNeil is the anchor of that line. He’s just getting better and has been our most improved guy each year, and that group played a lot of minutes together and they just found a way.”

Meanwhile, for Pridham, it was his first time hoisting the University Cup as he was injured and didn’t play when SMU won in 2010. He said, though he thought a lot about how he had to face his former team, he said he wouldn’t trade this win for the world.

“I had to play the game like it was a faceless opponent, and I didn’t want to think of who was on the other side,” said Pridham. “Going through the handshake, I felt for them a little bit, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Trevor’s done a lot for me and I owe him a lot of credit for where my game is. He’s more than a coach, he’s now a really great friend and I appreciate that.”

Finally, for fifth-year veteran Dion Campbell, you can’t script it up any better for him. A goal and an assist in the tournament, including the game-winner against UQTR Saturday night, and leaving his CIS career a national champion in his home province.

“It’s so special that it’s hard to comprehend that it happened like this,” said Campbell. “When I came back [at Christmas], I was all in and I knew what we wanted to do and we just had to work hard and do our best, and that’s what this group did all tournament.”

UNB returned home early Tuesday morning, and will hold a public celebration on Wednesday at noon at the Aitken Centre. All are invited.

Varsity Reds in fifth University Cup championship!

Nick Murray – UNB Sports Information

March 18th, 2013

Photo by Brian Smith

Photo by Brian Smith

SASKATOON – The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men’s hockey team captured their fifth CIS University Cup championship Sunday night, with a 2-0 shutout win over the Saint Mary’s University Huskies.

Daine Todd and Tyler Carroll scored both UNB goals in the lowest-scoring CIS final in the 51-year history of the University Cup tournament, while goaltender Dan LaCosta stopped 17 shots for his second-consecutive shutout against SMU, earning player of the game honours.

Todd opened the scoring for UNB on the power play midway through the first, poking in a shot from Nick MacNeil which SMU goaltender Anthony Peters couldn’t squeeze under in his five-hole.

With 10 seconds to go in the game, Tyler Carroll iced a 100-foot shot into the empty net, and the celebration began, with all the players huddled around the bench. Even LaCosta cleared his crease to join the celebration with time still left on the clock.

Carroll earned tournament MVP honours tallying four goals, though noting Todd could have also won it.

“You couldn’t ask for much more than a win,” said Carroll. “It didn’t matter if it’s on TV or at the Lady Beaverbrook Rink, it’s still a championship game. I guess it seemed fitting that [SMU] and us battled back and forth all year and it came down to us and them in Saskatoon.”

Head coach Gardiner MacDougall relied on the Colby PridhamNick MacNeil, and Dion Campbell line throughout the game, putting them back on the ice after each TV timeout, and captain Chris Culligan acknowledged the hard work by Pridham and Campbell, handing off the University Cup trophy for them to hoist first.

“Those guys have been a huge part of our success and that line alone has driven the team,” said Culligan. “Very deserving to both of those guys. All us older guys, we want the new guys to win, especially Prids playing Saint Mary’s in the finals when he made a tough decision to come to our school, and Dion coming back second half and having the Cup in Saskatchewan, we had lots of motivation.”

For Pridham, it was the first time hoisting the University Cup trophy as he was injured when SMU won it 2010. Pridham said while he thought a lot about the team he had to face to win another championship, he knew what he had to do.

“I thought about it a lot yesterday when I found out both of us were through,” said Pridham. “But I had to play the game like it was a faceless opponent and I didn’t want to think of who was on the other side.

It’s the fourth championship for UNB in seven years, all under head coach Gardiner MacDougall, and he said the key to winning this one was using adversity as a stepping stone to get better.

“Anytime you can win a national championship it’s a real special moment,” said MacDougall. “[Saint Mary's] is certainly well-coached and a really good hockey club and they’ve raised the level of our team. We’ve had great battled and anytime we’ve lost to them we’ve responded and got better. If you don’t improve in our league, you’ll never get a chance to get here and that’s what our guys found a way to do this year.”

-30-

V-Reds punch ticket to finals against Saint Mary’s

Nick Murray – UNB Sports Information

March 17th, 2013

Photo by Brian Smith

Photo by Brian Smith

SASKATOON, SK – The University of New Brunswick men’s hockey team punched their ticket to the finals Saturday night at the Credit Union Centre, pulling out a 8-3 win over l’Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières. The V-Reds are now set to take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies in a rematch of the Atlantic University Sport championship.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “It didn’t matter who we play. Anytime you get to the national finals, those are special games to play in. I think it’s a credit to the AUS.”

Nick MacNeilTyler Carroll and Bryce Swan each netted a pair in the win, while Thomas Nesbittand Dion Campbell rounded out the score sheet.

Félix Petit, Pierre-Olivier Morin and Maxime Paquet-Gravel all scored for the Patriotes, who were fighting a team-wide flu bug which hit captain and CIS defenseman of the year Pierre-Luc Lessard harder than others. He played limited minutes and UNB capitalized with great puck possession down low.

The game got off to a wild start, with six goals in the first 10 minutes. UNB opened the scoring 45 seconds into the game, with MacNeil redirecting an Adrian Robertson point shot, then two minutes later Bryce Swan netted his first of the tournament, putting UNB up 2-0 and forcing Patriotes head coach Gilles Bouchard to call a timeout.

Bouchard told his team to relax and that there was lots of time left, and following the timeout they scored a minute later on the power play, with Petit taking the puck into the V-Reds zone and ripping a slap shot top corner on goalie Dan LaCosta.

A minute and a half later UQTR tied it up with Morin jumping all over a loose puck in the crease to bang home the equalizer, then four minutes later les Patriotes took the lead with Gravel crashing the net off a Lessard point shot.

But a minute and a half later Carroll cleaned up the garbage in front, off a Chris Culligan shot in the slot, for his second of the tournament.

The rest of the game was all UNB, scoring five unanswered goals, while outshooting UQTR 33-13 in the final two periods.

Campbell scored the game-winner five minutes into the second, after Daine Todd took the puck around the net and dished it to MacNeil for a quick shot. Goalie Marc-Antoine Gelinas made the first stop, but Campbell whacked in the rebound through Gelinas’ five-hole.

Forward Colby Pridham will now get a chance to play in the University Cup finals, as when Saint Mary’s won it in 2010, he was injured and didn’t get to play.

“I’ve been waiting for this since that game,” said Pridham. “It was really heartbreaking for me to find out that I couldn’t actually play and I was really looking forward to it. It felt a lot better that we won and I got to touch the trophy, but I haven’t lifted it yet so I want to get it over my head.”

Sunday will be the fourth all-time all-AUS University Cup final; all four featured UNB. The last was in 2007 against l’Université de Moncton. Puck drop is 5:30 local time (8:30 Atlantic) on Sportsnet One or http://www.CIS-SIC.tv

-30-

Todd leads V-Reds to opening night win over Huskies

Nick Murray – The Brunswickan

March 15th, 2013

Photo by Raisa Pezderic - The Sheaf

Photo by Raisa Pezderic – The Sheaf

SASKATOON, SK – The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds’ special teams were firing on all cylinders Thursday night in their first game of the University Cup championship, taking down the host Saskatchewan Huskies 3-1 before 5,865 fans at the Credit Union Centre.

Defenseman Daine Todd led the way for UNB with a three-point night, including the game-tying goal in the second period. He also added assists on the game-winner by Tyler Carroll and the insurance marker in the third period by Antoine Houde-Caron.

“I think obviously going from forward to defence I’m always going to try and play an offensive role,” said Todd. “That’s what I try and contribute every day. I’m not a big guy, I’m not going to be really physical, but I’m just trying to create off the back end as much as I can.”

The Huskies opened the scoring early in the second with Jimmy Bubnick burying the rebound after V-Reds goalie Dan LaCosta made the initial save on a Kyle Bortis wrap-around attempt.

Midway through the second, UNB capitalized on the power play, with Nick MacNeil feeding an open Todd backdoor, netting his first of the tournament as the puck just trickled across the goal line.

Late in the period UNB went back to the power play, and as the Huskies tried to clear the zone, Chris Culligan flew off the bench on a line change to keep the puck in. He fed an open Todd in the corner, who one-touched it to Carroll in the slot, who one-timed the game-winner.

The V-Reds added an insurance marker late in the third, with Todd taking the puck end-to-end, drawing two Husky defenders on him, and feeding a backdoor Houde-Caron to seal the win.

UNB’s shot blockers put on a clinic, so much so that Huskies head coach Dave Adolph said he couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen so many shots blocked.

V-Reds forward Dion Campbell played his first game on Saskatchewan ice in over five years last night, and head coach Gardiner MacDougall said he’s done a good job keeping his emotions in check.

“That’s part of being a university athlete,” said MacDougall. “But right now he’s focused on the group. It’s a big emotional game for him to play and it’s not easy, but he played hard and he got better as the game went.”

Throughout the playoffs MacDougall stressed the importance of getting an early lead and holding on to it. While Saskatchewan got off to an early jump, defenseman Ben Shutron – who’s played before huge crowds in the Memorial Cup – said the key was composure.

“There was no sense of panic,” said Shutron. “We got stronger ad the game went on and stuck to the game plan.”

Meanwhile LaCosta stopped 23 shots in the win and earned player of the game honours, as the Huskies were almost doubled up on the shot clock.

UNB is now set to face l’Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières, Saturday night at 11 p.m. Atlantic time.

V-Reds power play mauls host Huskies in opening game of University Cup

Nick Murray – UNB Sports Information

March 15th, 2013

Photo by Brian Smith

Photo by Brian Smith

SASKATOON – The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds continued their playoff dominance in the opening game of the University Cup championship, scoring a pair on the power play en route to a 3-1 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies last night at the Credit Union Centre.

Defenseman Daine Todd had a three-point night for UNB, scoring the game-tying goal and adding two assists, while Tyler Carroll ad Antoine Houde-Caron also scored for the V-Reds in the win.

After a scoreless first, the Huskies capitalized with the man advantage five minutes into the second, with Jimmy Bubnick burying the rebound off a Kyle Bortis wrap-around attempt to give the Huskies an early lead as the 5,865 fans in attendance erupted with their team ahead.

But midway through the frame Todd tied it up on the power play, taking a MacNeil cross-slot pass, and just narrowly burying his first of the tournament. The referee didn’t make a call on the goal right away as the puck trickled along the goal line, but after talking it over with his colleagues and the goal judge, he ruled good goal.

Replays showed the puck crossed the line by a fraction of an inch.

Late in the frame UNB went back to the power play, and as the Huskies tried to clear the zone,Chris Culligan came flying off the bench on a line change to keep the puck in, and the play alive.

He fed it down low to Todd, who one-touched passed it to Carroll in the slot, and ripped a one-timer top corner giving UNB the lead.

“Cully made a great play coming off the bench when [Colby Pridham] got off,” said MacDougall on the goal. “We kept it in, we made a play, and we scored. It’s such a fine line, but a big difference as well.”

Todd wasn’t done the heroics just yet as late in the third he corralled the puck in his own zone, then took up down ice drawing two Huskie defenders, and feeding an open Houde-Caron for the insurance marker.

“I think obviously going from forward to defence I’m always going to try and play an offensive role,” said Todd. “That’s what I try and contribute every day. I’m not a big guy, I’m not going to be really physical, but I’m just trying to create off the back end as much as I can.”

Dan LaCosta stopped 23 shots in the win, and earned player of the game honours.

The V-Reds are back on the ice Saturday night at 11 p.m. Atlantic time against l’Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières.

-30-

Another one for the rafters

Nick Murray – The Brunswickan

March 12th, 2013

Photo Credit: Brian Smith

Photo Credit: Brian Smith

Make it a three-peat for the men’s hockey team!

The V-Reds beat the Saint Mary’s Huskies two games to one over March break, to win their third Atlantic University Sport title in as many years. It’s the first time in the history of the men’s hockey program that the team has ever

three-peated as champions. UNB took the first game on home ice 1-0 in double overtime, with Dion Campbell scoring a mad scramble goal. With the puck sitting on the goal line after Nick MacNeil batted a rebound out of mid-air, Campbell came diving around the back of the net to poke it in.

Tuesday night, the Huskies came out firing beating UNB 5-2. Tyler Carroll netted both V-Reds’ goals, but UNB struggled on special teams going one- for-eight on the power play.

The best-of-three series shifted back to the Aitken Centre on Thursday night for a winner-take-all matchup, and Dion Campbell stepped for one final salute to V-Reds nation, scoring another game winner, in a 2-0 shutout and a top two seeded ticket to the University Cup this week in Saskatoon.

“In playoffs, you’re going to score all kinds of goals and that one only squeaked in eight inches across the line,” said Campbell. “The AUS is such a strong league, and you want to win these games to set the foundation and build going into nationals.”

Antoine Houde-Caron also scored his first of the playoffs in the win, while Dan LaCosta stopped 25 shots for his second shutout of the series. LaCosta earned AUS playoff MVP honours

posting a 1.76 GAA and a .927 save percentage in the playoffs and said the shutout to capture the AUS title meant more to him than his NHL shutout against the Colorado Avalanche.

“To be honest, this is more gratifying just because of my teammates that I’ve had over the last two years,” said LaCosta. “I’ve never played on a team like this where everyone’s so close, and it’s what hockey’s all about. It’s a tight room, everybody cares about each other and that’s why we’re playing hard.”

This is the V-Reds’ fifth AUS championship under head coach, Gardiner MacDougall, who this year also celebrated his 300th career win as a CIS hockey coach, and said the key to winning the series was taking early leads.

“This series was really intense because it was three games quick,” said MacDougall. “You have two teams that play very well, and we’re here for a reason. The key in this series was that the team that had the lead didn’t give it up.”

Rookie forward, Cam Braes, picked up an assist on Campbell’s goal for his first point of the series, and with it slipped into a tie with Acadia’s Liam Heelis atop the AUS playoff points race, with three goals and six assists.

With the title, UNB is now tied for second with Saint Mary’s with 13 AUS championships; first is St. FX with 24.

The Brunswickan: UNB launches appeal to AUS for Critchlow suspension

Nick Murray – The Brunswickan

March 9th, 2013.

UPDATE, MARCH 11th, 1:25pm: Atlantic University Sport executive director Phil Currie has informed the Brunswickan that the Judicial Committee reviewing the suspension appeal has proposed a hearing with the Varsity Reds for Wednesday, March 13th, at 4:30 p.m. Currie also told the Brunswickan that the third member of the committee is Dr. Tim Hynes, Director of the Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies at Mount Allison University.

FREDERICTON, N.B., - The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds have appealed the suspension handed down by Atlantic University Sport to forward Cam Critchlow.

Critchlow was served five games for a hit on Saint Mary’s Huskies defenseman Patrick O’Keefe in game one of the Subway AUS finals.

If the suspension is upheld, it would see Critchlow – who’s tallied two goals and an assist in four playoff games – sit the entire University Cup championship this week in Saskatoon, SK.

No penalty was called on the play and therefore the Huskies sent the video footage to the AUS for review. AUS executive director Phil Currie reviewed the play and ruled on the suspension last Tuesday.

UNB athletic director John Richard submitted the appeal just after midnight last night and said he hopes the appeal will see Critchlow play in the national championships.

“We feel the appeal shows that the severity of the suspension, considering it involves games in the AUS finals and the CIS nationals, doesn’t match the incident and isn’t consistent with other decisions made this season,” said Richard. “We respect and concede that the unfortunate incident needed some sort of discipline, we just don’t agree with the level assigned to Mr. Critchlow.”

According to Currie, the appeal will now be reviewed by a committee led by Halifax-based lawyer Ron MacDonald. Université de Moncton athletic director Marc Boudreau is also on the committee, and will select a third member to join he and MacDonald.

Because the incident is now in the appeal process Currie wouldn’t comment on what led him to the decision to suspend Critchlow for five games.

“Considering this is now an appeal I can’t speak to that,” Currie said. “The only thing I can say is what I did see in the video led me to the five games.”

While UNB had 96 hours from the time they received notice of the suspension to appeal it, Currie said there’s no timeframe for how long the ruling on the appeal will take.

Meanwhile O’Keefe hasn’t played since the incident and according to SMU officials he sustained neck injury on the hit.

Head coach Trevor Steinberg said O’Keefe underwent an MRI yesterday at 4 p.m., and didn’t practice with the team this weekend. O’Keefe was tied for third in scoring among AUS defensemen in the regular season with three goals and 17 assists.

“First and most importantly, as we stated right away last Tuesday, we hope to see Mr. Patrick O’Keefe back on the ice very soon,” reaffirmed Richard.

The V-Reds are set to fly out to Saskatoon early Monday morning.

V-Reds three-peat as AUS Champions

Nick Murray – UNB Sports Information

March 7th, 2013

Photo Credit: Brian Smith

Photo Credit: Brian Smith

For the third consecutive year, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men’s hockey team are Atlantic University Sport Champions.

The V-Reds shutout the Saint Mary’s University Huskies 2-0 before a sold out crowd last night at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton, to win their fifth AUS championship under head coach Gardiner MacDougall.

“This series was really intense because it was three games quick,” said MacDougall. “You have two teams that play very well and we’re here for a reason. The key in this series was that the team that had the lead didn’t give it up.”

V-Reds forward Dion Campbell was named player of the game and scored his second of the series with 17 seconds left in the first period.

Cam Braes threw a pass from the corner into the slot, and Campbell made no mistake backhanding a shot five-hole on Huskies goaltender Anthony Peters.

Saint Mary’s came out slow in the opening frame being outshot 15-3, but switched gears in the second with a 7-1 shot run to open the period.

The Huskies had three great chances at the end of the second and leading into the third, with UNB taking back-to-back-to-back penalties giving the Huskies six minutes worth of power plays in eight minutes over two periods.

But the V-Reds shot blockers stood out on the penalty kill, with Taylor MacDougallBen Shutron, and Josh Kidd all stepping in front of shots.

Late in the third Huskies forward Cory Tanaka broke his stick with UNB controlling the puck in SMU’s zone. He went off for a line change, leaving Antoine Houde-Caron open in the slot to bury his first of the playoffs, with a circus-backhand beating Peters five-hole.

Tanaka had a great chance in the final minutes to make it a one-goal game again, and wristed a shot past V-Reds goaltender Dan LaCosta, but rang it off the post as LaCosta picked up his second shutout of the series.

LaCosta was named the most valuable player of the playoffs, and said this shutout to win the AUS championship is more meaningful to him than his NHL shutout against the Colorado Avalanche.

“To be honest, this is more gratifying just because of my teammates that I’ve had over the last two years,” said LaCosta. “I’ve never played on a team like this where everyone’s so close and it’s what hockey’s all about. It’s a tight room, everybody cares about each other and that’s why we’re playing hard.”

Huskies head coach Trevor Steinberg said while his team came out slow in the first, he was pleased with how they battled back in the third.

“After the first I thought our guys did exactly what they’ve always done,” said Steinberg. “The mutts came back and started biting at their ankles and we almost made it happen. It hurts to have two goals like that scored and at the end where we have a few dings here, and a few scrambles there, but you can’t wish for a miracle If we’re going to have a miracle happen, I’d rather have it happen in Saskatoon.”

Both teams will leave for the CIS University Cup next week in Saskatoon, SK, where play begins Thursday at 4 p.m. Atlantic Time.

-30-

Campbell scores in double-OT as V-Reds take game one

Nick Murray – UNB Sports Information

March 2nd, 2013

Photo by Brian Smith

Photo by Brian Smith

It was a battle of the top two teams, and goaltenders, in the AUS last night at the Aitken Centre, and after over 80 scoreless minutes of hockey, Dion Campbell scored in double-overtime to lift UNB to a 1-0 win over the Saint Mary’s Huskies in game one of the Subway AUS men’s hockey finals.

Campbell’s goal at the 14-minute mark of the second overtime came at a point where Huskies goalie Anthony Peters kept Saint Mary’s in the game with one huge save after another, and where Peters had stopped 40 shots to that point.

The game-winning play started as a tired Saint Mary’s line couldn’t clear the zone and Colby Pridham took the puck around the net and centered it. With the puck deflected, Nick MacNeilbatted it out of mid-air but hit the far post. The puck came to rest right on the goal line for a good two seconds before a diving Campbell poked it in to seal it for UNB.

“I got the puck in the slot on my backhand and I threw it at the net,” described Campbell. “Nicky took a swing at it and it just plopped. The goalie was out and I thought it was rolling in the net so I put my hand up [in celebration] and the boys got excited on the bench…but it stopped dead on the line. The guys on their team swung and missed but luckily I got there in time.”

However the goal didn’t come without any objection from the Huskies bench, and head coach Trevor Steinburg said he thought MacNeil touched the puck with his stick above the crossbar.

“We thought it was a high stick,” said Steinburg. “We’re still not positive that the puck was touched by anybody other than them again. So we thought it may have been blown down.”

Despite UNB goalie’s Dan LaCosta’s first playoff shutout, Peters was named third star for his efforts. Peters hadn’t allowed a goal for over 179 minutes – dating back to the second period against Acadia on Jan. 23rd, said while it’s disappointing to fall after a hard fought effort, he’s not dwelling on what’s already happened.

“Anything can happen,” said Peters. “We’ll regroup and we’ll have the home crowd revved up so hopefully the boys will feed off that. Hopefully we work hard and get some bounces to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Game two of the best-of-three series in set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Halifax. All AUS playoff games can be viewed online at AUSTV.ca

-30-

Panthers’ special teams help tie series with win over UNB

Nick Murray – UNB Sports Information

February 22nd, 2013

Photo by Nick Murray

Photo by Nick Murray

As Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall put it: “Now we have a series.”

The University of Prince Edward Island Panthers tied their Subway semi-final series with the University of New Brunswick Friday night at the Aitken Centre, beating the V-Reds 4-2 on the road at the Aitken Centre.

All of UPEI’s goals came on special teams, two were shorthanded, while the Panthers have now tallied four power play goals in the series.

“Ultimately we worked hard, we finished our hits, and we got more shots at their goalie,” said Panthers’ head coach Forbes MacPherson on the win. “We were above and beyond our commitment to our 5-on-5 play, and special teams was the difference.”

Matt Maione, Jordan Knox, Cole MacMillan, and Mike MacIsaac each scored in the win, while MacPherson elected to start Mavric Parks, who stopped 18 shots for his first win since the opening game of the regular season on Oct. 12th.

MacPherson said he was “up all night thinking about [whether to start Parks],” and Parks said he was told the morning of the game.

“I guess you could say I was surprised [I started],” said Parks. “Wayne’s had an unbelievable second half and last game wasn’t at all his fault.”

The V-Reds’ Colby Pridham opened the scoring for UNB early on, redirecting a Nick MacNeilshot through traffic.
But UPEI capitalized at the end of a Ben Wright tripping penalty, with Maione going end-to-end, and wristing a shot bar-down over V-Reds goalie Dan LaCosta’s shoulder.

Twenty-eight seconds into the second period, and with UNB on a power play, Chris Culliganturned the puck over to Chris Desousa, who then sprung Jordan Knox on a short breakaway who netted his first of the playoffs, giving UPEI their first lead of the series.

MacMillan gave the Panthers a two-goal lead later on burying his own rebound, off the end-boards, and flipping the puck top-shelf on a defenceless LaCosta.

Cam Critchlow made it a one-goal game midway through the period with help from Bryce Swanand Cam Braes, and it stayed that way until the final minute when Mike MacIsaac buried the insurance goal after LaCosta charged out of the net to play a loose puck.

“I thought we started the game pretty good, and usually we get better as the game goes on, but tonight we didn’t,” said MacDougall on the loss which snapped a nine-game winning streak. “Usually we’re a third-period hockey club and we pride ourselves on the third. The secret to success in this league is when how you respond to adversity. And now we have an opportunity to respond.”

The loss is UNB’s first at home since Nov. 3rd, and first loss at home in an AUS playoff game since Mar. 12th, 2011 when they fell 2-1 in double-overtime to St. FX in the AUS finals.

The series now shifts to Charlottetown, PEI, where it’s a best-of-three with PEI having the next two games at home on Monday, Feb. 25th, and Tuesday Feb 26th. Both games are 7 p.m. starts.

-30-