Halifax, N.S – Death, Taxes, The UNB Reds in the U Sports National Championship. Three things that just feel like certainties at this point. Despite a scare from the Acadia Axemen in the AUS playoffs the Reds managed to snag their 3rd straight AUS championship and will head into Halifax looking to defend their 2019 National Title. Here is what you need to know to get you set for when UNB takes on the 8th seed UBC Thunderbirds at 1:00PM/EST on Friday March 13th.
The Good :
The UNB Reds absolutely ran away with the AUS regular season, posting a 26-4-0 record including winning all 14 straight games to close the season dating back to November 29th. They lapped the AUS in Goals For, and Power Play Percentage and on the defensive end had the league’s lowest goals allowed totals and the best penalty kill percentage.
On offence, six UNB Reds made up the top 15 of AUS scoring but one of the most surprising additions was Alexander Goulet.
The 3rd year forward exploded offensively in 2019-2020 grabbing 17 goals and 17 assists to more than double his previous season’s output.
Samuel Harvey and Rylan Parenteau split the duties in the pipes starting 14 games a piece with Parenteau ending the year 12-2-0 and Harvey at 14-2-0. Harvey took over the net in the playoffs going 4-1-0 with a 1.21 GAA and a .946 save percentage and for his efforts was named AUS playoff MVP.
Although Harvey will get the starts it really looks like it does not matter who starts in net for the Reds at the National Championships though as they have easily the best 1/2 goalie tandem available.
There is not really much to say that is bad about the UNB Reds. In the AUS Playoffs they walked over Moncton with ease outscoring them 18-6 in three games and even after stunningly dropping Game 1 of the finals to the Acadia Axemen they rebounded and won Games 2 and 3 by a combined 11-1 margin. The Reds truly enter the National Championships as heavy favourite to repeat.
The X Factor:
The X-Factor for the UNB Reds would have to be none other than Tyler Boland.
The 3rd Year St John’s Newfoundland native absolutely exploded in 2019-2020, going off for 20 goals and 28 assists in 30 games on the way to an AUS 1st Team All-Star appearance. His playoff performance was more the same with points in 5 of 6 games to help lead the Reds to the title. Boland is the straw that stirs UNB’s drink and if he continues to dominate the way he has this season, it could mean for the second straight year, the David Johnston University Cup would head to Fredricton.
You can catch every game of the U Sports Men’s Hockey University Cup on cbcsports.ca or usports.live
COVER PHOTO: James West for UNB Athletics (@JWest_Photo)