In the tournament's most thrilling game thus far, the University of New Brunswick Reds held off the Carleton Ravens 2-1 in the third quarterfinal matchup at the 2019 U SPORTS Cavendish Farms University Cup on Friday.
Carleton entered the game as the seventh seed, drawing the second seed, and seven-time University Cup champion UNB Reds. The Reds led the AUS with five goals per game, but the Ravens defence came to play as they held UNB to only two goals, thanks in large part to a spectacular showing by Carleton goalie Francois Brassard.
In the end, the difference was the work rate of UNB, as they outshot Carleton 38 to 23.
"This time of the year, it is about trying to be one goal better," explained UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "Obviously a good scare is a lot better than a good loss. I think the group found a way, and a crucial part is when you can score first - that is the key for the confidence level of any team."
UNB is quite familiar with the national stage, playing in their 18th appearance at the University Cup.
"I think it doesn't get old," noted Matt Boudens, a four-year veteran of the national tournament. "As a team you show up in late August and this is the end goal. We work all year and take nothing for granted. It does not matter how it looks as long as you end up with the W. I thought we shut it down there in the end and (got) the victory."
Both sides came out with speed to start the game, rushing up and down the full length of the ice. With both teams only able to register three shots on net in the first seven minutes of the game, the Reds would strike first thanks to a brilliant passing sequence. After receiving an entry pass into the Carleton zone, Chris Clapperton would fire a hard pass at a streaking Stephen Anderson at the right faceoff circle. Anderson would then feather the puck to second-year forward Tyler Boland at the top of the crease, who would make no mistake tapping the puck in to give UNB the early lead.
Carleton would begin to build momentum late in the period, testing UNB goaltender Alex Dubeau with quality chances thanks to a relentless forecheck.
Carleton's efforts against the seven-time champions would be rewarded just over four minutes into the second period off a wild series of events. After being stopped on a partial breakaway, second-year forward Matthew Forchuk would again be denied after receiving a pass at the top of the right crease area. With Dubeau once again giving up a rebound, Forchuk would make good on his third opportunity in the sequence to level the game at one.
Less than two minutes later, Boudens would put UNB back on top thanks to another superb passing sequence from the Reds that looked almost identical to their first.
In the third period, the Ravens would find themselves at an early disadvantage, taking a holding penalty just minutes into the final frame. A minute later, Carleton would be called for a tripping penalty, putting UNB on a two-man advantage. The Reds would be unable to muster much against the stifling Carleton penalty kill, keeping the Ravens in the game.
"In the game as far as the offense goes, when they scored their goal - Goulet and Boudens finished it up and I thought a couple of big (penalty) kills and solid goaltending for us as well (sealing the win)."
With eight minutes remaining, Carleton would be called for too many on the ice, putting the UNB powerplay back to work. Three minutes later, UNB would take their first penalty of the frame, with Kris Bennett being sent off for slashing.
Carleton would press late, but Alex Dubeau would shut the door, helping UNB advance to the next round.
"They played us hard and it was a good game," stated UNB captain Marcus McIvor on Carleton's efforts. "I think we just stayed composed and kept going with the game plan it ended up working out for us.
"They worked hard. They came and gave us their all, their goalie was good, their back end with puck as well, and their forwards were on us. They were good."
While the tournament ends for the Ravens, UNB advances to the semifinals. Puck drop is set for 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT Saturday on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet Now, where they will face the winner of Quarterfinal No.4 between StFX and Queen’s.
Players of the Game
- Carleton: Francois Brassard
- UNB: Alex Dubeau