Varsity Reds best UPEI 3-1 as 2015 gets underway

Varsity Reds best UPEI 3-1 as 2015 gets underway

Dana Fraser got his UNB Varsity Reds career off to a good start on Friday night.


The Varsity Reds' newest addition had a goal and two shots as he helped UNB defeat his former team, the UPEI Panthers, in Atlantic University Sport men's hockey action at the Aitken Centre. The Truro native opened the scoring at 11:46 of the first period.


"I was in front of the net and the puck came to me and I just slid it home," said Fraser. "It was nice to get that first one off my back – especially against my old team. I know a couple of the other boys were heckling me out there so it was nice to get that."


"I was there four years and I made a lot of good friends and stuff. It was fun to play them. It was good to see that they still had that respect for me [after] switching teams. I know I still have that respect for them."


Tyler Carroll also scored in the win while Philippe Maillet added an empty net goal and two assists. David Shantz had a strong performance in net, making 18 saves.


UPEI's lone goal came from Chris Desousa in the second period. Mavric Parks made 32 saves in the loss, including several stops from point blank range.


The Varsity Reds got off to a good start in the opening period but the Panthers quickly countered with a couple of quality scoring chances. A blast from Reginaldo Traccitto rang off the post and then, soon after, Shantz had to make a quick pad save off a Brent Andrews shot from the slot. Fraser's goal at 11:46 gave the Reds a 1-0 advantage, a lead they would hang on to entering intermission.


Despite being outshot 12-6 in the first, UPEI had a couple good chances late in the frame, including another shot from Andrews that Shantz had to make a nice stop off of.


Parks continued his solid play in the second period, robbing Cam Braes with a glove save on a power play and then denying Dylan Willick on a shorthanded breakaway. The UPEI netminder the robbed Willick again a few minutes later, stopping a one time chance from the top of the crease.


The Varsity Reds headed to a five-on-three man advantage at 15:58. On the power play at 16:21, Jordan Murray fired a shot from the top of the circle that was tipped past Parks by Carroll to give UNB a 2-0 lead.


The Panthers quickly got back within one with a power play goal. At 18:31, Desousa beat Shantz, making it a 2-1 game after two. Shots were 15-6 in favour of the Reds in the second period.


Both goaltenders had strong performances in the third. Both sides were awarded power play time as well but neither could connect.


The Panthers pulled Parks with 1:15 remaining, setting up Maillet's empty net goal at 19:38 to give UNB a 3-1 victory. Final shots were 35-19 in favour of the V-Reds.


"I thought it was a good, hard fought battle which you expect. We had a great opponent," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "They played hard and I thought we had some good opportunities. We got the lead which I think is a real key and we had chances to extend it. We had to wait until the end to get the extension but I thought overall [it was] a pretty solid effort against a real good opponent."


The Varsity Reds return to action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to the Université de Moncton to take on the Aigles Bleus. The Panthers visit the St. Thomas Tommies tomorrow night.


Jamie Tozer for UNB Sports Information