Contributed by: Nick Murray – Sports Information Assistant, UNB Varsity Reds
The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men’s hockey team captured their fifth CIS University Cup championship Sunday night, with a 2-0 shutout win over the Saint Mary’s University Huskies.
Daine Todd and Tyler Carroll scored both UNB goals in the lowest-scoring CIS final in the 51-year history of the University Cup tournament, while goaltender Dan LaCosta stopped 17 shots for his second-consecutive shutout against SMU, earning player of the game honours.
Carroll earned tournament MVP honours tallying four goals, though noting Todd could have also won it.
“You couldn’t ask for much more than a win,” said Carroll. “It didn’t matter if it’s on TV or at the Lady Beaverbrook Rink, it’s still a championship game. I guess it seemed fitting that [SMU] and us battled back and forth all year and it came down to us and them in Saskatoon.”
Head coach Gardiner MacDougall relied on the Colby Pridham, Nick MacNeil, and Dion Campbell line throughout the game, putting them back on the ice after each TV timeout, and captain Chris Culligan acknowledged the hard work by Pridham and Campbell, handing off the University Cup trophy for them to hoist first.
“Those guys have been a huge part of our success and that line alone has driven the team,” said Culligan. “Very deserving to both of those guys. All us older guys, we want the new guys to win, especially Prids playing Saint Mary’s in the finals when he made a tough decision to come to our school, and Dion coming back second half and having the Cup in Saskatchewan, we had lots of motivation.”
It’s the fourth championship for UNB in seven years, all under head coach Gardiner MacDougall, and he said the key to winning this one was using adversity as a stepping stone to get better.
“Anytime you can win a national championship it’s a real special moment,” said MacDougall. “[Saint Mary’s] is certainly well-coached and a really good hockey club and they’ve raised the level of our team. We’ve had great battled and anytime we’ve lost to them we’ve responded and got better. If you don’t improve in our league, you’ll never get a chance to get here and that’s what our guys found a way to do this year.”
UNB is holding a welcome back celebration for the Varsity Reds Hockey Team on Thursday, March 21 at 12 p.m. at the Aitken University Centre. Members of the community are welcome to attend.