Photo credit Brian Smith Photography
FREDERICTON, N.B. (CIS) – The top-seeded and tournament host UNB Varsity Reds captured their third University Cup title in five years and their fourth in school history with a 4-0 shutout of No. 2 McGill in the gold-medal final of the CIS men’s hockey championship, Sunday night, before a sold-out crowd of 3,760 at the University of New Brunswick’s Aitken Centre.
University Cup website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mice
It was the second 4-0 win in as many nights for the AUS champion V-Reds, who defeated No. 4 Western Ontario by the same score on Saturday to secure first place in Pool A after edging No. 6 Calgary 2-1 in their preliminary round opener on Thursday.
The Redmen, who were skating in the CIS championship game for the first time, had come out of Pool B with a 2-1 defeat of No. 5 StFX and a 6-3 victory over No. 3 Alberta.
It has long been said that defence wins championships and the Varsity Reds, who claimed their first three banners in 2009, 2007 and 1998, proved it once again on Sunday.
The top-ranked UNB defence, which allowed 1.53 goals per game in the regular season, completely neutralized the high-flying OUA champions, who topped the country in conference play with 5.04 goals per outing and had added 48 in 10 post-season contests heading into the national final.
With a single goal against in three games, the V-Reds set a tournament record under the current six-team, two-pool format.
“It was outstanding. I couldn’t have asked for our team to play any better. It’s a dream come true to win it at home,” said 11-year UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall, who was behind the bench in 2003 and 2004 when the V-Reds hosted back-to-back University Cup tournaments, including a heartbreaking 3-2 double-overtime loss on home ice to StFX in the 2004 title match.
Third-year goaltender Travis Fullerton, who backstopped UNB to a 4-2 win over Western as a rookie in the 2009 final in Thunder Bay, Ont., made 29 saves to earn his second straight whitewash.
The native of Riverview, N.B., became the first goalie to record a shutout in the championship game since UQTR’s Éric Desjardins in 2003 and the first to blank the opposition twice in the same tournament since Mike Mole of StFX in 2004.
“It’s unreal,” said Fullerton, who was named the tournament’s top netminder, an honour he had also received two years ago. “The crowd was unbelievable. The guys played great. I’m so excited right now.”
Luke Gallant, a fourth-year defenceman from Bedford, N.S., received the Major W.J. ‘Danny’ McLeod Award as tournament MVP and was named player of the game for UNB following a three-point performance, including the game-winning goal midway through the first period.
Gallant was also the V-Reds Game MVP on Saturday against Western thanks to another three-point outing, which also included the game-winner. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound business administration student finished the championship with a tournament-leading seven points (2-5-7).
Daine Todd, a sophomore forward from Stettler, Alta., with two, and Matt Fillier, a second-year forward from Durham, N.S., also scored the winners, who were leading 1-0 after the opening period and 2-0 after 40 minutes.
Hunter Tremblay, the all-Canadian forward and AUS MVP from Timmins, Ont., chipped in with two assists.
“We played extremely well tonight. It’s unbelievable. We couldn’t have planned this any better,” said team captain Kyle Bailey of Ponoka, Alta., one of three V-Reds to join Gallant and Fullerton on the all-tournament team, along with rearguard Jonathan Harty of Oromocto, N.B., and forward Chris Culligan of Howie Center, N.S.
McGill centre Maxime Langelier-Parent of Léry, Que., rounded out the championship all-star squad.
“We got manhandled a little tonight, there’s no doubt about it,” said Kelly Nobes, in his first season behind the McGill bench after stints with RMC and Laurier. “We weren’t able to utilize our speed and were pushed around left, right and centre. But at the end of the day, I was really proud of my team. They had an outstanding season. They showed that they’re one of the top programs in the country.”
“It was incredible for us to get to the game. We were not that far away from our goal,” said alternate captain Guillaume Doucet from Anjou, Que., one of only three graduating seniors on the Redmen. “This program has come a long way in the last five or six years and I’m sure we’re going to win a national championship pretty soon.”
UNB got off to a great start, pinning the Redmen in their zone for most of the opening 10 minutes, but couldn’t generate any legitimate scoring chances.
Gallant broke the ice at 10:04 with a hard slapshot from the left point that beat McGill goalie Hubert Morin, who was screened and had no chance on the play. Tremblay and rearguard Ben Wright assisted on the goal.
McGill finally seemed to gets its legs going in the final five minutes of the first period.
The Redmen tested Fullerton four times in a span of 45 seconds but the championship-winning goalie stood tall on every occasion, including a diving save off a Patrick Belzile shot and a stick save against Andrew Wright on a partial breakaway.
With a minute to go before the first intermission, UNB had a glorious opportunity to double its lead while killing a penalty but Morin stoned Tremblay on a breakaway.
The V-Reds kept the pressure on after the break and had a dangerous sequence five minutes into the middle frame with a four-shot barrage.
Todd finally made it 2-0 with 5:59 remaining in the second.
Gallant threw the puck in front from the blue line and Tremblay made a nifty backhand pass to Todd, who was stoned by Morin’s right pad on his first shot but managed to bank in his own rebound.
McGill’s best opportunity in the period came with three minutes left but Fullerton stopped back-to-back close-range shots from Redmen captain Evan Vossen.
The shots on goal after 40 minutes were 20-20.
Fillier all but put the game away four minutes into the third when he tipped a pass from Harty behind Morin.
Todd put the icing on the proverbial cake at 11:15 with his second of the night.
Morin, third-year goalie from St. Georges de Beauce, Que., made 23 saves in the loss.
Both teams went 0-for-1 on the power play.
GAME NOTES: It marks the first time in history that the Atlantic University Sport conference has won three straight CIS men’s hockey banners, following triumphs by Saint Mary’s and UNB... UNB had won its first three University Cup titles in 2009 with a 4-2 gold-medal win over Western Ontario (Thunder Bay, Ont.), in 2007 with a 3-2 double-overtime win over Moncton (Moncton, N.B.) and in 1998 with a 6-3 victory over Acadia (Saskatoon, Sask.)... Tonight’s championship final marked the first-ever meeting between McGill and UNB at the University Cup tournament... Heading into the game UNB held a 7-1 all-time overall record versus McGill including a 7-1 non-conference win at the Aitken Centre earlier this season, on Dec. 30... The University Cup championship returns to Fredericton next year (March 22-25) for its 50th anniversary edition before moving to Saskatoon in 2013 and 2014...
University Cup MVP (Major W.J. ‘Danny’ McLeod Award): Luke Gallant, UNB
Goaltender: Travis Fullerton, UNB
Defenceman: Luke Gallant, UNB
Defenceman: Jonathan Harty, UNB
Forward: Kyle Bailey, UNB
Forward: Chris Culligan, UNB
Forward: Maxime Langelier-Parent, McGill
UNB 4, McGill 0
1. UNB Gallant (2) (Ben Wright, Hunter Tremblay), 10:04
Josh Kidd (UNB) kneeing, 17:08.
2. UNB Daine Todd (1) (Hunter Tremblay, Luke Gallant), 14:01
3. UNB Matt Fillier (1) (Jonathan Harty, Nick MacNeil), 4:31
4. UNB Daine Todd (2) (Chris Culligan, Luke Gallant), 11:15
Alexandre Picard-Hooper (McG) slashing, 12:17;
Kyle Bailey (UNB) cross checking, 12:17;
Ryan McKiernan (McG) high sticking, 19:18.
GOALS (by period)
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
McG: 9-11-9: 29
UNB: 9-11-7: 27
McG – Hubert Morin (L, 2-1, 27 shots, 23 saves, 4 GA, 60:00)
UNB – Travis Fullerton (W, 3-0, 29 shots, 29 saves, 0 GA, 60:00)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
McG: Evan Vossen
UNB: Luke Gallant
REFEREES: Mark Hulshof (Lower Sackville, N.S.), Adam Byblow (Saskatoon, Sask.)
LINESMEN: Benoit Martineau (Marieville, Que.), Jay Doiron (Moncton, N.B.)
ATTENDANCE: 3,760 (sold out)
POOL STANDINGS & RESULTS
Pool A standings (FINAL)
GP W L GF GA PTS
1. UNB 2 2 0 6 1 4
2. Western 2 1 1 3 6 2
3. Calgary 2 0 2 3 5 0
Pool B standings (FINAL)
1. McGill 2 2 0 8 4 4
2. StFX 2 1 1 4 3 2
3. Alberta 2 0 2 4 9 0
Thursday, March 24
Pool B #1: McGill 2, StFX 1
Pool A #1: UNB 2, Calgary 1
Friday, March 25
Pool B #2: StFX 3, Alberta 1
Pool A #2: Western 3, Calgary 2
Saturday, March 26
Pool B #3: McGill 6, Alberta 3
Pool A #3: UNB 4, Western 0
Sunday, March 27
University Cup Final: UNB 4, McGill 0
2011 UNIVERSITY CUP SCORING LEADERS
GP G A PTS
1. Luke Gallant, UNB 3 2 5 7
2. Derek Ryan, Alberta 2 3 0 3
2. M. Langelier-Parent, McGill 3 2 1 3
2. Kyle Bailey, UNB 3 1 2 3
2. Chris Culligan, UNB 3 1 2 3
2. Guillaume Doucet, McGill 3 1 2 3
2. Hunter Tremblay, UNB 3 1 2 3