Daine Todd struck twice and added an assist as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds dropped the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres Patriotes 6-1 on Thursday in their first game at the Canadian university men's hockey championship.
Antoine Houde-Caron and Chris Culligan both had a goal and an assist for UNB, while Matt Fillier and Nick MacNeil also scored.
Felix Petit was the lone scorer for UQTR.
“It was obviously a great start for us and we wanted to come out and play our best hockey,” said Todd. “I don't think we quite did that because we still had our lapses and we'll just take the good stuff out of tonight and roll this into the next game.”
Looking to win back-to-back University Cup men's hockey championships, the Varsity Reds were near perfect in their first game of the tournament.
Todd scored the first Varsity Reds goal off a one-time pass from Culligan 5:12 into the first period.
New Brunswick's Fillier made it 2-0 at 7:05 off a rebound from Taylor MacDougall's slapshot on Patriotes goaltender Guillaume Nadeau.
The first period would end with UNB ahead 2-0.
Culligan scored the only goal of the second period from Todd and Tyler Carroll.
“It's always nice playing at home and the crowd was pretty wild tonight the same as last year,” said Culligan. “You draw energy from them and you get a little boost. You hope to take that adrenaline into your game.”
After Culligan's goal, the Varsity Reds would also kill a 5-on-3 penalty after Gallant and MacDougall took penalties at 11:15.
UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall said that although the power play was 0-for-6, the perfect penalty kill was more important than scoring with an advantage for his teams momentum.
“People often talk about the power play, but I think your penalty kill is more important than your power play,” he said, referencing the 5-on-3 penalty kill midway through the second period. “That was a huge kill for our club and obviously Fully (Fullerton) made big saves, but for those four people who had an extended shift and they just found a way to kill it.”
Trois-Rivieres only goal came at 6:26 of the third off Petit's stick on a juicy rebound from UNB goaltender Travis Fullerton.
Todd scored his second goal of the game shortly after.
“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time tonight and good linemates help too,” he said, crediting Culligan and Carroll.
Fullerton turned aside 20 shots, while Nadeau made 27 saves.
New Brunwick outshot the Patriotes 33-21.
The Varsity Reds will play Western Ontario on Saturday, while the Patriotes take on the No. 4 ranked Mustangs on Friday.
Earlier, Francis Verreault-Paul had a pair of goals - including the eventual winner - and added an assist as the McGill Redmen downed the Moncton Aigles Bleus 6-3.
Nicolas Biniek scored twice for McGill, while Alex Picard-Hooper had a goal and two assists. Andrew Wright added a single.
Marc-Andre Cote and Dean Ouellet both had a goal and an assist for Moncton, while Christian Gaudet also scored.
Hubert Morin made 21 saves in net for the win, while Pierre-Alexandre Marion stopped 13 shots for the Aigles Bleus.
It was a particularly undisciplined game, with the Redmen earning 38 penalty minutes and Moncton assessed 32 minutes in the penalty box.
McGill was 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Aigles Bleus were 1-for-9 with the man advantage.