If the McGill Martlets’ (2-0-0) 5-0 shutout win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees (2-2-0) on Saturday night is any indication, this season should be a thrilling one to watch. The Martlets, who kicked off their 2015-2016 season this past weekend with back-to-back victories, proved worthy of their top-three ranking with a near perfect offensive and goaltending display.
Saturday’s game started slow, with freshman forward Olivia Atkinson providing the lone goal in the first period, but built up in intensity as the clock ticked down towards the first intermission. The last minute of the first period saw a furious scramble by the Gee-Gee’s, who dominated during that time in hopes of evening the score at one a side. McGill’s senior goalie Taylor Hough was up to the task, turning away all eight shots she faced in the period with ease.
“[Hough] made the saves when we needed her to,” Head Coach Peter Smith said. “I thought she stood up and did a real good job there.”
Helped by a stubborn defence, Hough’s success carried into the second period as the Martlet offence started to take off. Senior Melodie Daoust added a goal in a dominating middle stanza for the Martlets, who had control of the puck in the offensive zone the entire period save for a few penalty kills. Though the Martlets held off the Gee-Gee’s five-on-four advantages throughout the game, their own power play proved just as unsuccessful, an area in which Smith would like to see some improvement.
“I thought we played pretty well on the power play, but we just need to get it in the back of the net,” Smith elaborated. “We had a lot of good chances, we just need to continue to get more pucks to the middle of the ice.”
The lack of scoring on the main advantage didn’t hinder the Martlets, however, who erased any notions of a Gee-Gees come back from a 3-0 second period deficit. Forward Pamela Psihogios hit the back of the net less than five minutes into the third. Daoust, who won a gold medal with the Canadian Olympic team last year, scored her second of the night in sublime fashion on an end-to-end breakout while the McGill was shorthanded. The Canadian national team member picked up a perfect pass from defenceman Kelsie Moffat, decked through three Ottawa defenders with impressive ease, and lifted the puck past the shoulder of Ottawa netminder Sarah-Maude Labrecque for the Martlet’s fourth goal of the night. Capitalizing on Ottawa’s misery, forward Erika Pyke tacked on one last goal to put the final score at 5-0.
Saturday’s win came after an impressive victory on Friday, in which McGill won 2-1 in overtime against the No. 2 ranked Montreal Carabins (1-1-1). Senior forward Joanne Cagianos sent the game to overtime with a stunning third period goal, and Daoust scored the game-winner in the shootout. The team is back in action next weekend when they visit Ottawa on Friday, and host Montreal at home on Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m.
“We always have a game plan. We liked some of the things we did [on Friday against Montreal]. We wanted to be better in the offensive zone, more attempts, and I thought we did a good job of doing that today. It’s a very coachable group we have here.” <em>-Coach Smith on McGill’s weekend performance.</em>
Moment of the Game
Daoust’s crazy display of precision and creativity to find the back of the net shorthanded in the third. Honorable mention: Cagianos’ painful but productive blocked shot in the first period to keep Ottawa off the scoreboard.
Stat of the Game
Martlets outshot the Gee-Gees 39 to 21.