REDS Win In Return To Play

REDS' captain Samuel Dove-McFalls moves around a Moncton defender during Saturday's 3-2 shootout win over les Aigles Bleus. (PHOTO: James West/for UNB Athletics)
REDS' captain Samuel Dove-McFalls moves around a Moncton defender during Saturday's 3-2 shootout win over les Aigles Bleus. (PHOTO: James West/for UNB Athletics)

(FREDERICTON, NB) The U SPORTS No. 1 UNB REDS came from behind to score a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus on Saturday night.

The game was the first for both teams in Atlantic University Sport's return to competition.

The league's December break was extended by about six weeks due to pandemic restrictions in all four Maritime provinces.

REDS' captain Samuel Dove-McFalls scored the shootout winner, a goal that barely trickled over the goal line.

"I knew the ice was getting bad, so I didn't want to do anything too fancy and I went with a shot I usually do in practice," said Dove-McFalls. "I'm lucky it worked out. Honestly, I kind of missed my spot, but it trickled in, that's all that matters."

UNB's win spoiled a stellar performance by Moncton goaltender Etienne Montpetit (Valleyfield, QC), who stopped 53 of the 55 shots he faced in regulation and overtime.

"It was more than a month that we couldn't play, so to come back like that, it was a good test tonight," said an exhausted Montpetit. "At the end of the day, it's UNB and on the road and we got one point, so we're happy about that."

The REDS opened the scoring, on the powerplay, just 3:13 into the first period.

Ryan Roth (St. Louis, MO), one of UNB's three second term additions, wasted no time in making a first impression. He pounced on the rebound of an Austen Keating (Guelph, ON) shot and fired it past Montpetit.

With time winding down in the opening period, Olivier Luc-Hache (Savoie Landing, NB) scored to pull Moncton even.

In the second period, the visitors took the lead while working on a 5-on-3 powerplay.

Denis Toner (Saint-André, NB) hammered a rebound past REDS goalie Rylan Parenteau (Saskatoon, SK) at 4:49.

At the 8:45 mark, Mark Rassell (Calgary, AB) had an opportunity to tie the score from point blank range. His shot hit the post behind Montpetit, the puck bouncing precariously in the crease before the goalie fell back to cover it.

Montpetit would continue to hold the REDS at bay until 5:08 of the third, when James Phelan (Laval, QC) scored to tie the game 2-2.

Moments later, Parenteau stopped Gabriel Vanier (Broisbriand, QC) on a breakaway to hold the score at 2-2.

Parenteau stood his ground again, stopping Michael Cyr (Sainte-Anne, NB) on a partial break at 15:02 of the third.

A five-minute overtime period solved nothing, setting the stage for the shootout, and Dove-McFalls' heroics.

"I think we dominated the run of play for most of the game," said Dove-McFalls. "We played really well. I was really proud of the guys' effort tonight. They (Moncton) kept it tight, credit to them. They're well structured, well coached and their goalie was solid."

"I think we showed some character here tonight," said Montpetit. "We did some good things. It's a good thing for us that we came here and got one point against UNB. We're pretty happy about that."

REDS' forward James McEwan (Chatham, ON) was named the Subway Player of the Game.

"Two points is two points," said REDS head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "I think there's lots of positives. I told the guys, the closer it is, the more difficult it is, the better it feels."

MacDougall, like Dove-McFalls, acknowledged that Montpetit had a good night, but he was quick to point out the performance of his goaltender too.

"Rylan had a big third period and made key saves for us," he said. "Obviously the shootout, the extra point is a huge point."

With the win, the REDS solidify their hold on first place in the AUS. UNB is now 17-and-3.

Moncton's record is now 5-12-1-1.

Interestingly, both teams now prepare for home games against the UPEI Panthers.

Moncton returns home to host the Panthers on Friday. Game time is 7:00pm.

The Panthers then travel to Fredericton to face the REDS on Saturday. Puck drop is 7:00pm.


RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics

PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics