Photo courtesy of Brian Smith

(ISN) – (FREDERICTON, N.B.) The UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team came back from behind to best the Windsor Lancers 6-5 and win the first of two games in this weekend’s Peterbilt Pete Kelly Cup in front of a home crowd.

It was a tight game between two top-ranked teams. Both the Lancers and the Varsity Reds are ranked first in their respective divisions (OUA West and AUS), and have been featured in the CIS Top Ten all season.

Windsor opened up the scoring just over five minutes into the first period when Spencer Pommells scored on a beautiful breakaway pass. Pommells leads the CIS in points (33) and assists (22) in 17 games played this season.

UNB would tie it up exactly five minutes later when Adrian Robertson picked up a far side pass from Chris Caissy to beat Lancer keeper Parker Van Buskirk with a backhand goal.

It wouldn’t stay tied for long. The Lancers got back on the board around 12 minutes into the first with a goal from Scott Prier and it was 2-1 Windsor.

The Varsity Reds didn’t let up as the first period wound down. After a flurry of good shots in the front of the Lancers’ net, Tyler Carroll would finally bat it in and make it 2-2 with just nine seconds to go.

The second period got underway with UNB picking up two penalties early on and facing a 5-on-3 situation. Windsor would be able to take advantage of the opportunity and score their third goal seconds before it expired. Matt Beaudoin found the net this time, with the assist from Prier and Kenny Bradford.

It would take the Varsity Reds over half the period to catch back up, but around 14 minutes in Cam Braes found a way and tied it 3-3. The assist went to Philippe Maillet and Carroll.

Just two minutes later UNB would take the lead for the first time in the game. Cameron Brace caught the strong Lancers defence a bit off guard and made it 4-3. The assist went to Philippe Halley and Braes.

But they wouldn’t hold the lead for long, as Windsor tied it up again six minutes into the third. Pommells found the net for his second goal of the game. The Lancers would go on to take back the lead around thirteen minutes into the third with a one-handed goal from Ryan Green, assisted by Chad Shepley and Prier.

With three minutes left in play, the Varsity Reds made it 5-all. Colin Suellentrop fired one off from close to the face-off circle for the goal. The assist went to Jordan Murray.

Less than a minute later, UNB managed to channel that bit of momentum into the game-winning sixth goal. Braes had the winner, assisted by Randy Gazzola and Maillet.

UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall says he’s pleased the V-Reds kept pushing to find a way to the win against a good opponent.

“They’re definitely a good match-up, and so every time you play against a team like that, you gotta get that little bit better,” MacDougall said.

“It’ll be a tough one tomorrow again, but we’re going to come out and work hard, and do what we need to do.”

The Varsity Reds host the Lancers again tomorrow at 2pm for game two of the Peterbilt Pete Kelly Cup.