The second ranked Redmen kept on rolling during the break as they advanced to the OUA East final by sweeping the Ottawa Gee Gees and Nipissing Lakers in consecutive series.
On Saturday, at McConnell Arena, the Redmen ended the Lakers’ playoff dreams with a 6-4 victory. McGill cruised to a 1-0 lead in the first period as they outshot Nipissing 12-6. They exploded for four goals in the later half of the second period to take a 5-1 lead into the third. Nipissing responded with three consecutive goals to open the final period. But with four minutes remaining Simon Marcotte-Legare scored his third goal of the playoffs to double the Redmen lead and extinguish any hopes the Lakers had for a comeback.
“We had good performances from a lot of different guys in the first four games,” said Head Coach Kelly Nobes. “[We were] real effective on the forecheck, in the corners and along the boards.”
The victory came three days after McGill travelled to North Bay to capture the first game of the series 4-1. McGill was outshot 32-31 for the game and entered the third period trailing 1-0. They remained composed, however, as Maxime Langelier-Parent scored the first two goals of the third period to give the Redmen their first lead at 2-1. A minute after Langelier-Parent’s second goal, CIS scoring champion Alex Picard-Hooper found the back of the net to double the McGill lead.
The Redmen victory against Nipissing came on the heels of a sweep against the Ottawa Gee Gees in the first round. That series started slow for the Redmen as they found themselves trailing 1-0 midway through the third period at home in game one. However, sniper Francis Verreault-Paul was able to tie the game with 13 minutes to go. With less than three minutes left Christophe Longpre-Poirier scored the game winner. The Redmen scrambled to close the game as they took two penalties and were reduced to three skaters. With the pulled goalie, Ottawa had a six on three advantage but weren’t able to find a way to score.
With one win already under their belts, the Redmen cruised to a 10-5 victory in the second game against Ottawa. McGill put the game out of reach quickly as they jumped out to 6-0 first period lead and were a dominant five for seven on the power play. Andrew Wright, Francis Verreault-Paul, Guillaume Doucet, and Simon Marcotte-Légaré all scored twice for the Redmen.
McGill now advances to the OUA East final against the eighth ranked UQTR Patriotes, who defeated Carleton in three games in the other East semifinal. The winner earns a berth in the OUA Queen’s Cup final and gets a spot in the upcoming CIS Championship.
With the victories, McGill extended their perfect record at McConnell Arena to 18-0, which bodes well for the Redmen, who have home ice advantage in their upcoming series. The series will begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. in McConnell Arena. The second game will be played at UQTR on Friday night. If the series is tied, the tiebreaker will be played back at McGill on Sunday night.