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Tigers fall to REDS 5-4 in OT

Photo by James West
Photo by James West

RECAP BY: Evan Richtsfeld/UNB Athletics

(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB REDS were able to hold off a late comeback to defeat the Dalhousie Tigers 5-4, in overtime, in Friday night Atlantic University Sport men's hockey action, at UNB's Aitken Centre.

Connor Hall (Kitchener, ON) was the overtime hero for the REDS.

"It wasn't our best performance tonight, but that's hockey, it happens," said Hall. "The more tight games we're in now, the more it's going to help us down the line. But to still come away with two points is our end goal, and that's what we did."

After a scoreless first period, UNB opened the scoring thanks to Michael Petizian (Mississauga, ON), who found the back of the net at 0:51 of the second. 

"I was able to use my speed to take advantage of a turnover in our end," said Petizian. "I was lucky to have [Macauley] Carson there with me who fed me the pass and I put it home". 

The Tigers answered back just minutes later, as Josh Wainman (Peterborough, ON) blasted a cross-crease pass from Cameron Thompson (Victoria, BC) to tie the game. 

The REDS were able to re-take the lead when Cody Morgan (Gilford, ON) found Isaac Nurse (Hamilton, ON) wide open in the slot and Nurse made no mistake, putting home the go-ahead goal. 

Less than a minute later, Petizian scored his second, beating Tigers' goalie Connor Hicks (Kanata, ON) on a nice move to increase the UNB lead to 3-1. 

"Carson fed me the puck at the perfect time and I was able to catch the goalie cheating off the post a little bit and put it five hole," said Petizian. "It was a great play from our new defenseman Kale McCallum who passed to [Macauley] Carson on the right wing and I just did my best to beat my defenseman". 

Dalhousie responded at 16:02 of the second as Evan MacKinnon (Dartmouth, NS) finished a perfectly played odd-man rush putting home the rebound off a shot to narrow the UNB lead to one.

The offensive outpouring in the second period wasn't over. With under a minute to play, REDS forward Benjamin Corbeil (Granby, QC) was able to put home a loose puck in front of the net to give UNB the 4-2 lead heading to the third period. 

The Tigers would not give up and after killing off a four-minute penalty to start the third, Declan MacEachern (Charlottetown, PE) was sprung on a break and fired a shot past REDS goalie Griffen Outhouse (Williams Lake, BC) to make it 4-3. 

With less than two minutes to play, and on a powerplay, Dal pulled Hicks for a six-on-four advantage.

The gamble paid off when Christain Huntley (Halifax, NS) scored to force overtime.

"The guys were saying just throw everything on net and don't pass up a shot," said Huntley. "I got the puck on the bumper and usually I like to go high, but I had an opening to take one to the net. Luckily it came right back to me and when that happens it's almost an open net." 

The REDS started the extra frame with a man advantage thanks to a late Jackson van de Leest (Kelowna, BC) but were unable to beat Hicks who made 46 saves in a losing effort. 

At 3:32 of the extra frame, Morgan found Hall wide open at the top of the slot. His wrist shot found the net.

"Morgan was able to do a great job drawing two guys and finding me open," said Hall. "From there I was just able to just get a puck on net and the rest is history."

The win is UNB's 18th of the season and the first AUS regular season win, as head coach, for UNB associate coach Rob Hennigar, filling in for head coach Gardiner MacDougall, currently at the FISU Winter Games.

"Obviously, we'll take the two points but there are some things we need to clean up," said Hennigar. "Our third period has got to be better, and I thought our powerplay was lacking tonight but I give Connor [Hall] credit. We'll go over a few things and hopefully be better tomorrow." 

The REDS will have a quick turnaround as they will get set to host the STFX X-Men on Saturday. Game time is 7:00pm.

With their valiant effort on Friday night, the Tigers did earn a point and will finish their New Brunswick road trip Saturday in Moncton. That game is scheduled for a 7:00pm face-off.

"I think we did a really good job of hanging in there and staying gritty," said Huntley. "It's a big point for us in terms of making playoffs push for us."