Less than 24 hours after a dominant 4-0 win at home against Laurier, the McGill Redmen hockey team (11-1-0) won its eighth game in a row, defeating the Waterloo Warriors (4-8-0) 5-2 at McConnell Arena on Saturday evening.
Despite surrendering the first goal to Warriors forward Colin Behenna, McGill stayed the course, and senior defenceman Vincent Bernard’s fourth goalof the season evened the scoring heading into the first intermission.
McGill’s persistence was on full display throughout the game, as the squad’s strong core of veterans led a ferocious attack. Fourth-year centre Mathieu Pompei stood out in particular—he scored twice in the third period to put the game out of Waterloo’s reach.
“We’ve asked guys to step up this year,” Coach Nobes said. “[Pompei] is a guy in his fourth year who stepped up. He’s providing us with offence, and he’s playing the right way away from the puck. He’s a real dependable 200-foot player, and he’s getting rewarded offensively for it.”
Pompei scored the game-winning goal at 1:29 of the final frame, and he was also responsible for an insurance marker less than four minutes later.
Waterloo’s Joe Underwood cut the lead in half at 14:22 of the final frame to make the score 4-2, but that was the closest the Warriors would get before rookie centre Frederic Gamelin put a bow on the contest by scoring an empty net goal with a minute and 20 seconds left in regulation time. Redmen goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard contributed an impressive 38 saves.
Nobes was pleased with his team’s effort on Saturday, but he acknowledges that his team could still play much better.
“I didn’t think we were great in tonight’s game, it was a ‘B’ game for us,” Nobes said. “Although I did think we had a good third period in terms of our energy.”
Like any successful coach or teacher, Nobes is never satisfied, but he can’t be too disappointed in the 11-1-0 record that has the Redmen sitting atop the OUA East standings.
“We’ve kind of built steam,” Nobes explained. “I think the focus has been on just growing as a team. [Not just] as individuals, but as a team [….] We’re just playing hockey day by day, and I think that’s the biggest reason we’re having success.”
Now that Laurier and Waterloo are in their rearview mirror, the Redmen return to practice in preparation for dates at Brock Badgers (5-4-3) on Friday, and at York Lions (7-1-3) on Saturday.
Moment of the game
Pompei's third period goals sealed the game for the Redmen, as Waterloo was unable to recover momentum and mount a comeback. Pompeii's clutch start to the third period earned him the honor of being the game's first star.
“We have weaknesses that we know, and we’re working on them. We’ll continue to work on them. I thought tonight that Waterloo did a good job on their penalty kill in different places that we need to address. We’ll scout Brock and York, and we’ll be doing that video [Sunday] and Monday, and then we’ll address some areas of their games that we need to make sure we’re aware of. But it’s a work in progress. We’ve got a long way to go to be the team we want to be at the end of the year.” – Nobes on McGill’s areas for improvement
Waterloo outshot McGill 40-38. It was only the second time this season that McGill has had fewer shots than their opponents.