Invigorated by the bumping capacity crowd, the McGill Redmen [16-5] secured a well-fought 2-0 victory over the Carleton Ravens [16-5] in this year’s Carnival game. McGill stretched their undefeated streak at Carnival games to 13, while improving their overall record against Carleton to 27-20-1.
The 950-seat McConnell arena appeared way over capacity, with McGill fans crammed into the bleachers. Countless supporters stood to watch the play unfold so that they could be a part of the unique atmosphere.
Revelers turned up in all sorts of fancy dress: stars-and-stripes onesies, blue cows, and black ‘pukesuits.’ Students came prepared with signs such as “This is a Carleton Diploma.” The section behind the Carleton goaltender Patrick Killeen was heckling him relentlessly for the entire game.
This created an intimidating, almost unsavoury atmosphere for the visiting Ravens. And while McGill outplayed them start to finish, Carleton did rise to the challenge. In particular, Killeen had an impressive game. He made 20 saves on 22 shots, keeping his focus sharp while being screamed at by McGill fans for a full 60 minutes.
McGill’s puck movement was better than Carleton’s for the entire game, and junior right wings Max Le Sieur and David Rose led the attack with crisp passing and shooting. The two disrupted Carleton’s rhythm with a strong fore-check, and helped to break up many potential counter-attacks. McGill always seemed to have more bodies on defence than Carleton did because they were so effective at shutting down the counter-attack.
Despite McGill’s strong pressure, their shooters were denied on the power play on each of the team’s five chances. Carleton was excellent at clogging up scoring lanes in their third of the rink. The Redmen, as usual, returned the favour—shutting out the Ravens 0-5 on powerplays. McGill goalie Jacob Gervais-Chouinard, made 27 saves on his way to his first shutout of the year.
In such a defensive battle, McGill’s superiority on offence proved the difference. Senior forward Jonathan Bonneau tapped in a rebound off of freshman defenceman Dominic Poulin’s slapshot with four minutes to play in the first period to take the lead. The second goal came from 6’4” winger Neal Prokop, just minutes into the third period.
McGill’s sharpness extended to face-offs. McGill won 37 of them against 28 for Carleton. This was impressive given the spirited atmosphere and the number of penalties both teams accrued. Carleton’s Van Stralen was ejected in the second period for a game misconduct penalty. McGill racked up penalty minutes for roughing and high sticks. However, their play was more disciplined over the night, and it showed in the final result.
On Saturday, McGill beat the winess Royal Military College (0-17) 4-3 in a thriller. Junior centre Jonathan Brunelle, scored the winner with seven minutes left in the third period after McGill had given up a 3-0 lead against the scrappy RMC squad. In a rather stunning performance, RMC goalie Evan Deviller made 53 saves to keep his team in the game. With the win, they clinched a playoff spot, and are quickly closing in on the top spot in the conference.
On Sunday the Redmen went to the Bell Centre to take part in the Montreal Canadiens’ annual skills challenge. After a whirlwind weekend, the Redmen get a few days to rest before taking on the Queen’s Gaels at home Friday at 7 p.m.