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( Elie Waitzer / McGill Tribune )

Hockey: Pompei saves the day, Redmen take first place

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McGill Redmen
8

 

 

 

 

Lakehead Thunderwolves
3

 

 

Mathieu Pompei put on a clinic over the weekend, scoring seven points over two games to power McGill (7-1-0) past the Lakehead Thunderwolves (0-6-0), and stretch the team’s winning streak to four. Unsatisfied with his two goal performance in Friday’s 5-1 win, the senior centre netted a hat-trick in Saturday’s 8-3 victory, and added an assist for good measure.

Up 3-0 going into the second period, it looked like McGill was on its way to another easy two points against the hapless Thunderwolves. Three minutes into the frame, sophomore blueliner Alex Chenevert made it 4-0 on a quick feed from junior winger Pietro Antonelli.

Maybe it was the prospect of heading back to Thunder Bay without a win on the season, but Lakehead came out of a timeout midway through the second period with an energy that caught the Redmen off guard. Thunderwolves’ forward Cody Alcock got his team on the board with a slap shot from the point, and 30 seconds later, Alcock broke through the Redmen defence for another goal. Not even five minutes after the fateful time-out, the lead was down to 4-3. The Redmen defence that looked so impenetrable in the first period was now in disarray. All of a sudden, Lakehead was Ivan Drago, standing over the battered body of Apollo Creed.

“[We lost] our focus,” Head Coach Kelly Nobes said. “We got loose, and we got away from our structure. When we play with structure, we play the right way. When we get away from that like [we] did in the second, stuff like that happens.”

With momentum completely against the Redmen, it looked like Lakehead would be able to snatch their first victory out of the jaws of defeat. But when McGill needed it most, Pompei stepped up to pick his team up off the mat. Skating into the Thunderwolves’ zone with Pompei, senior David Rose tried to wrap the puck around the back of the Lakehead net to fellow winger Daniel Milne. Instead, the puck jumped off the glass and landed right in front of Pompei, who tapped it into the wide open crease. Thirty seconds later, Pompei went full Rocky, scoring on an assist from Milne to complete his hat-trick and make it a comfortable 6-3 lead.

“He’s a skilled offensive guy,” Nobes said of Pompei. “He got some chances tonight, and he executed.”

The 5’7”, 167 pound centre isn’t the biggest guy on the team, but in his final year at McGill, Pompei has been huge for the Redmen as the leader of the team’s top offensive line along with Rose and Milne.

“We’ve been trying to find chemistry with our group,” Nobes said. “Rose and Pompei have turned the corner in the last couple weeks and really come on strong for us and provided a […] spark for us along with Milne […] so it’s been a good line for us.”

The Redmen will try to keep the streak alive next weekend as they head to Ontario to take on Ryerson (5-2-0) and Toronto (2-4-1).

Quotable

“We’re getting better all the time; we’re learning lessons every game. [But] we still have a long way to go if we want to win at the end of the year.” – Nobes on the team’s improvement

Moment of the Game

The two teams had to be separated after frustration boiled over for Lakehead as junior Redmen goalie Jacob Gervais-Chouinard smothered the puck on the goal line to kill a late rally.

Stat corner

The Pompei-Rose-Milne line racked up a combined 16 points over the weekend.

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