With the scoring touch of Luke Gallant and the stellar goaltending of Travis Fullerton, the top-ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds crushed the competition and claimed their fourth Canadian Interuniversity Sport men's hockey title.
Gallant scored the winning goal and added two assists and Fullerton earned his second straight shutout as the Varsity Reds shut out the No. 2 McGill Redmen 4-0 Sunday in the 49th edition of the Cavendish Cup final.
Gallant, a fourth-year defenceman, was named tournament MVP after posting a tournament-best seven points.
Fullerton was once again huge in goal for the Reds, stopping 28 shots. He stopped 22 shots in a 4-0 blanking of Western on Saturday.
He became the first goalie to record a shutout in the championship game since UQTR's Eric Desjardins in 2003, and the first to blank the opposition twice in the same tournament since Mike Mole of StFX in 2004.
"It's unreal," said Fullerton, who was named the tournament's top netminder. "The crowd was unbelievable. The guys played great. I'm so excited right now."
Daine Todd had a pair of goals and Matt Fillier also scored as UNB won its fourth Cavendish Cup title before a capacity crowd of 3,760 at UNB's Aitken Centre.
"It was good night to get a couple goals," Todd said. "They (McGill)rank pretty high and I'm just glad I could help out the team."
The win marks UNB's fourth championship since 1998, and the third under head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
"It was outstanding. I couldn't have asked for our team to play any better. It's a dream come true to win it at home," MacDougall said.
The Reds opened the scoring at 10:04 of the first period. Gallant blew a slapshot past screened McGill goaltender Hubert Morin to grab the early lead. Hunter Tremblay and Ben Wright picked up the assists.
Todd added to the lead late in the second frame. Todd poked the puck through a sprawling Murin during a mad scramble in the crease. Tremblay recorded his second assist on the play.
Fillier added some insurance early in the third and Todd sealed the win with 9:45 remaining.
"It's great feeling," said UNB defencemen Jonathan Harty. "I can't keep the smile off my face."
The Redmen created a number of quality scoring chances, but couldn't solve Fullerton.
"We got manhandled a little tonight, there's no doubt about it," said McGill coach Kelly Nobes. "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 programs in the country."
The UNB goaltender's play was exceptional throughout the three games. Fullerton only allowed one goal on the 72 shots he faced during the tournament
"Right from the first shot against Calgary, I saw (the puck) really well," he said. "My confidence kind of built from there and we got on a roll."
Fullerton credits the majority of his success to his defenders.
"The D was awesome," he said. "A goalie is only as good as his defence so hats off to them."
The Reds' tenacious forechecking and strong physical play was also key in their success. "We're skilled but yet physical team and we wanted to come out hard and lay the body to them and hopefully wear them down," Harty said.
Decked in red, white and black, the fans at the sold-out Aitken Centre enthusiastically supported the home team.
"To do it in front of our home fans is indescribable," Fullerton said. "They're the best fans in the CIS no doubt and they proved it tonight."
Gallant, Bailey, Harty, Fullerton and Chris Culligan were named to the all-star team for UNB. McGill's Maxime Langelier-Parent rounded out the list.
"It was incredible for us to get to the game. We were not that far away from our goal," said McGill's Guillaume Doucet. "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."
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