It was a women’s hockey double derby weekend in Montreal, with the McGill Martlets (3-2-0) welcoming challengers from two local universities: The Montreal Carabins (4-1-1) and the Concordia Stingers (2-2-1). The Martlets started on a low note in a thrilling 4-3 loss against the Carabins on Saturday night at McConnell Arena. An even first period ended with the Martlets up 1-0 on rookie forward Olivia Atkinson’s strike. Both teams were playing fast paced and aggressive hockey, with confident displays of teamwork, passing, and individual skill.
The second period was a different story entirely.
After a relatively back and forth start, the Martlets found themselves under a offensive barrage from the Carabins’ forwards, who relentlessly drove the puck into the McGill half of the rink and kept the home team scrambling to defend. It soon became too much for the frustrated Martlets and the floodgates opened, with Montreal netting four consecutive goals in less than nine minutes. After the fourth goal veteran Head Coach Peter Smith pulled starting goaltender Taylor Hough for sophomore Kayla Loberg, who held the fort and the Carabins scoreless for the rest of the game.
“We got away from our game plan,” Head Coach Peter Smith said. “For our team to be successful we need to play with structure and we got away from the structure in the second period. Credit to Montreal, they turned it up a notch and I just don’t think we matched them in the second period.”
The Martlets got back into the game in the final period, picking up their tempo and aggression while outshooting Montreal 13-8 and finding the net twice in the third stanza, but it was not enough to salvage the mess they got themselves into in the middle period.
“I thought we had a great start to the game and I thought we had a great finish to the game,” Smith said. “The middle wasn’t very good.”
Sunday night’s 2-0 victory against the Concordia Stingers had a different atmosphere. Loberg got the nod for the first start of her career and made the most of it, going 22 for 22 to shut out the Stingers.
"Kayla was good, made the key stops that she needed to make and we played real well in our own end," Smith said. "She managed the puck well, [she] had good rebound control, and did a nice job."
The game was plagued by constant interruptions for penalties and other stoppages in play, preventing either team from getting into a real rhythm. McGill captain Melodie Daoust found the net in the first period on a well-orchestrated team goal after receiving pinpoint passes from sophomore forward Cora Constantinou and rookie blueliner Zoe Todd. Daoust contributed again in the second period, clearing the puck on a penalty kill to find veteran forward Gabrielle Davidson for a shorthanded goal to give McGill a 2-0 lead for the rest of the match.
“We played much more of a grinded out game with a lot of penalties,” Smith said. “There wasn’t a tremendous amount of flow. They were fresh, they hadn’t played, and we had […] the kind of game where we had to grind it out and it [was] a good win for the girls.”
“[This weekend was] certainly developmental. I thought there was some learning that went on. They’re a smart group and a hardworking group and they’ll take this weekend […] and certainly get some learning out of that.” —Smith on the weekend’s action
Moment of the game
Twenty-eight seconds into the third period of Saturday’s game—on a fast break straight off the opening puck drop—Atkinson scored for her second time in the game to give the Martlets players and supporters new energy to start the final period.
McGill managed just one shot on goal in the second period of Saturday’s loss while Montreal recorded 17.