The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds are the U SPORTS national champions after defeating the Alberta Golden Bears in Sunday’s final.
Coming away with a 4-2 victory, the Reds were led by forward Mark Rassell (Medicine Hat Tigers), who picked up one goal and one assist to help UNB claim the University Cup, its eighth win in program history and third time since 2016.
The two squads entered the final as the two top ranked teams nationally after the Golden Bears eliminated the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Canada West final, while the Reds defeated the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in Atlantic University Sport action.
On Sunday, the Golden Bears opened the scoring less than five minutes into the initial frame on a power-play marker by forward Steven Owre (Medicine Hat Tigers), who buried a perfect pass by Reds netminder Alex Dubeau (Moncton Wildcats).
Rassell then helped get the Reds on the board just over two minutes later when he assisted on the equalizer by Samuel Dove-McFalls (Rimouski Oceanic), who went five-hole on Alberta goaltender Zach Sawchenko (Moose Jaw Warriors).
Adding to the frustrations for the Golden Bears was Luke Philp (Red Deer Rebels), the 2019 U SPORTS Player of the Year who left with injury and did not return. Philp led the Golden Bears in scoring this season with 45 points in 24 games.
The Reds then added to the scoresheet in the back half of the second period on goals by Oliver Cooper (Charlottetown Islanders) and Kris Bennett (Saginaw Spirit) to bring the score to 3-1.
In the third period, the Golden Bears pulled within one after forward Brandon Magee (Victoria Royals) capitalized on a turnover created by Grayson Pawlenchuk (Red Deer Rebels), the 2019 Canada West Rookie of the Year, who finished 2018-19 with 22 points in 28 games.
Rassell then sealed the victory for UNB with an unassisted tally at the 10:57 mark of the third period as he snuck one through Sawchenko, leading to an eventual 4-2 final score.
Earlier Sunday, the X-Men defeated the Huskies by a 5-1 score to capture the bronze medal at the 2019 University Cup. Adam Holwell (Acadie-Bathurst Titan), Cole Macdonald (Everett Silvertips), Matt Needham (Kamloops Blazers), and Matthew Graham provided the offense for the X-Men, while Parker Thomas picked up the lone tally for the Huskies.
Defence: Marcus McIvor, UNB (North Bay Battalion)
Forward: Kris Bennett, UNB (Saginaw Spirit)
2018-19 U SPORTS MEN’S HOCKEY UNIVERSITY CUP – OHL GRADS:
GOLD – New Brunswick Reds (6 OHL Grads):
Noah Carroll (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 2018)
Marcus McIvor (North Bay Battalion 2015)
Kris Bennett (Saginaw Spirit 2017)
Cameron Brace (Belleville Bulls 2014)
James McEwan (Guelph Storm 2018)
Patrick Watling (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 2014)
SILVER – Alberta Golden Bears (1 OHL Grad):
Brendan Burke (London Knights 2016)
BRONZE – St. Francis Xavier X-Men (8 OHL Grads):
Santino Centorame (Owen Sound Attack 2017)
Daniel Robertson (Windsor Spitfires 2017)
Bryson Cianfrone (Owen Sound Attack 2016)
Holden Cook (Owen Sound Attack 2015)
Anthony DiFruscia (Niagara IceDogs 2016)
Adam Laishram (Windsor Spitfires 2017)
Nathan Pancel (Peterborough Petes 2015)
Sam Studnicka (Sarnia Sting 2016)