(Halifax, N.S.) – The visiting UNB Varsity Reds survived a thrilling five-round shootout to top the Dalhousie Tigers 5-4 on Friday night at the Halifax Forum.
Forward Cameron Brace (Markham, ON) was the hero in the deciding round, snapping a shot off the post and in past Dalhousie goalie Corbin Boes (Saskatoon, SK).
The Varsity Reds controlled the majority of play in the first period, thanks in large part to their speed. Overall, they outshot the Tigers 17-7, however the game remained deadlocked at zero thanks to stellar play in net from Boes.
UNB's best opportunity of the period occurred at 12:37, as forward Rob Mignardi (Richmond Hill, ON) received a great feed right in front of the crease, but was stopped point blank by Boes on two separate attempts.
The Tigers had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring with just over five minutes to play in the first frame, as they had a four-minute poweplay, however the Varsity Reds defence stood their ground.
Dalhousie's best chance on the man-advantage occurred in the final minute, as forward Tanner Williams (Iroquois, ON) was left open at the left slot, however his shot went just wide of the net.
Business picked up in the second period, as both teams lit the lamp three times and combined for 19 shots.
In a flurry of back-and-forth action, the game's first three goals occurred in the opening seven minutes, while the last three came in the final five minutes of the middle frame.
UNB defenceman Randy Gazzola (Thorold, ON) would open the scoring at 2:55, finishing off a tic-tac-toe pass from forward Mark Simpson (Fredericton, NB).
The Varsity Reds would increase the lead to two just over a minute later on the powerplay, as forward Philippe Maillet (Terrebonne, QC) picked up a loose puck in the right slot and made no mistake.
Dalhousie would respond just under three minutes later, as forward Colton Parsons (Kingston, NS) was able to finish off a great feed in front from fellow forward Fabian Walsch (Gloucester, ON) to cut the UNB lead to 2-1.
The Tigers would equal the score at two on their own powerplay at 15:41, on a deflected shot by Williams.
UNB forward Francis Beauvillier (St. Hyacinthe, QC) would give his team back the lead at 17:53 on another mad-advantage, however the Tigers had an answer – courtesy of forward Phil Gadoury (Montreal, QC) with just 18 seconds left in the second period – to even the score at three heading into the dressing rooms.
The physicality picked up in the third period, as both teams fought for momentum.
UNB would once again take the lead at 7:46, scoring their third powerplay goal of the game – this one courtesy of forward Matt Boudens (Pembroke, ON) on a tipped shot in front.
There was no quit in the Tigers however. They would level the score yet again at 12:09, thanks to an unassisted goal by forward Andrew Wigginton (Sackville, NS) at 12:09.
The Varsity Reds controlled play for the majority of the final eight minutes, however Boes stood tall as the contest headed to five minutes of three-on-three overtime.
The majority of the extra session was spent in the Dalhousie end, however yet again, Boes stepped up to ensure the game went to a shootout.
Dalhousie's best opportunity in overtime occurred in the final 20 seconds on a loose puck in the crease, however no player was able to get a stick on the bouncing biscuit.
Gadoury and Wigginton scored in the shootout for Dalhousie, while forwards Cam Braes (Shawnigan Lake, BC) and Maillet answered for UNB, followed by the game-winner from Brace.
The Varsity Reds picked up the extra point, to improve to 4-0-1, while Dalhousie is now 2-1-2.
Dalhousie's next action goes tomorrow night, as they host UPEI at 7 p.m. while UNB faces StFX on the road at the same time.
By: Mike Still, Dalhousie Athletics