Varsity Reds nip X-Men in overtime

Photo courtesy Andy Campbell
Photo courtesy Andy Campbell

(FREDERICTON, NB) -  Mark Simpson (Fredericton, NB) scored short-handed, in overtime, to lift the UNB Varsity Reds to a 2-1 win over the visiting StFX X-Men.

Simpson's goal came at 4:15 of the extra frame, as the Varsity Reds served their second penalty of the overtime session.

"I was pretty tired at that point. I just tried to get a lot on my shot… and luckily, it went in," said Simpson. "I read their player, going up the boards, and I thought I had a chance to get his stick and I put myself on a breakaway and just shot it and it went in… a pretty surreal feeling."

While the two teams traded first period chances, neither could find the net and the opening frame ended without a goal.

Michael Clarke (London, ON) scored mid-way through the second, giving the X-Men a 1-0 lead.

That lead would hold until the 9:35 mark of the third period.

That's when Varsity Reds defenceman Matt Petgrave (Brampton, ON) tied it for UNB.

Petgrave then took a delay of game penalty as regulation time expired, which put the Varsity Reds down a man to start overtime.

UNB managed to kill that penalty.

But with 2:37 to play in the extra time, UNB was called for too many men on the ice, sending the X-Men back on the power-play.

Simpson's goal came off a turnover in the neutral zone, and after a number of big saves by Varsity Reds netminder Etienne Marcoux (Terrebonne, QC).

"That's as entertaining as it gets," said X-Men head coach Brad Peddle. "We knew they were going to come hard, down 1-0, and they did."

"I thought the effort was great," said Peddle. "Obviously, not the result we wanted, but… first game in a month, pretty good effort."

The Varsity Reds improve to 15-2-2 with the win, while StFX falls to 11-7-1, good for third in the Atlantic University Sport standings.

"They get better as the season goes along, just like us. They came in and played us hard," said Petgrave. "For them not playing any exhibition games and coming in here and playing us that hard, you've got to give them hats off."

StFX goalie Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) admits he read Simpson wrong, giving up UNB's overtime winner.

"It looked like he was going high glove and he slipped it five hole," said Marchand, bravely addressing journalists mere minutes after the game's sudden end. "It was a good shot by him and it's a tough bounce to take in overtime, but we'll move forward."

Marchand had 41 saves in the StFX net. 

"It's my first year here, but I know the rivalry between X and UNB," said Simpson. "This is a game everybody gets up for more than any other game, so it was big to pick up this win."

The Varsity Reds play host to the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday. The opening face-off is scheduled for 7:00PM.

The X-Men visit UPEI.

RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics