After a blowout loss to the lower-ranked Western Mustangs in the finals of the 2015 CIS National Championship, the Martlets are setting their sights on another shot at the title this season.
Last year’s loss came after a 16-4-0 regular season record which landed the team the first seed entering the playoffs. The 2015-2016 Martlets have similar expectations for success, propelled by promising beginnings for players both new and old. Rookie forward Olivia Atkinson is poised to make her mark after a standout pre-season in which she scored the game-winning goal against University of Vermont on Sept. 27. Expect another strong season from Canadian Olympic gold medalist and former CIS Rookie-of-the-Year Melodie Daoust, who has amassed six points in six pre-season games in her fourth year playing for McGill. The team posted a tepid record of 3-7-0 over this span, but should pick up steam as the Martlets get used to playing without the irreplaceable Leslie Oles and Katia Clement-Heydra, who graduated last season. The teams enters the regular season ranked fourth in Canada.
The team dipped below the border this weekend for their annual Ivy League circuit, where they visited Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale. This year’s road trip proved frustrating for the Martlets, who went 1-2 and brought their overall NCAA record to 41-60-7. The Martlets’ regular season begins this Friday with a game at Montréal at 7 p.m., followed by Concordia at home on Saturday.
The Redmen hockey squad hopes to rebound from a mediocre 2014-2015 season that saw them squander a berth in the CIS Final 8 Championship with a loss in the OUA bronze medal game last March. The fresh-faced team enters the regular season, which began last Friday, ranked fourth in the nation.
Though the team had 16 seniors graduate last year, including All-Canadian Cedric McNicoll and team captain Benoit Levesque, this year’s group is far from inexperienced. Twelve players have experience in professional leagues such as the QMJHL, AHL, and the OHL. The group’s varied playing backgrounds make for a versatile and potent skill set that should serve the Redmen well in their 2015-2016 campaign.
Few players on this year’s team have been as electrifying thus far as Liam Heelis, a 25-year-old graduate student who won CIS Player-of-the-Year honours last year with Acadia. Heelis has racked up five points on four goals and an assist in his first three games with the Redmen. The star joins offensive powerhouses Patrick Delisle-House and Dominic Talbot-Tassl, as well as dual-threat blueliner Samuel Labrecque in hopes of leading the Redmen into the playoffs and beyond this season.
The Redmen are 3-1-0 to start the regular season, and will play games against UQTR and Concordia at home next weekend.