Host V-Reds blank McGill, claim fourth University Cup
By Earl Zukerman
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 packed house of 3,760 at the University of New Brunswick’s Aitken Centre.
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 after edging No. 6 Calgary 2-1 in their opener on Thursday.
The Redmen, who were skating in the CIS championship game for the first time, had advanced with a 2-1 defeat of fifth-seeded StFX and a 6-3 victory over No. 3 Alberta.
UNB, which claimed its first three banners in 2009, 2007 and 1998, completely neutralized the high-flying OUA champions, who had topped the country in the regular season with 5.04 goals per game and had added 48 in 10 post-season contests heading into the national final.
McGill had a 29-20 edge in shots and both teams went 0-for-1 on the power play.
“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 hockey programs in the country as well as the top students. I’d also add that these are also top-notch guys, high-quality people and I’m extremely proud of them.”
The Redmen finished with a school record for wins, posting a 38-4-3 mark with a squad that is expected to lose only three seniors to graduation.
“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., who played his last game for the Redmen and graduates with 85 goals and 169 points in 181 career contrests. “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.”
The other graduating players are centre Simon Marcotte-Legare of Longueuil, Que., and defenceman Stephen Valente of St. Leonard, Que.
Marcotte-Legare posted a 33-83-116 record in 149 games, while Valente graduates in only three years with a 3-18-21 dossier in 132 contests.
University Cup website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mice
GAME NOTES: It marks the first time in history that the Atlantic 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.)… The 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.