It felt like summer never happened for the Redmen lacrosse team. McGill (2-0) picked up right where they left off last season, defeating a critically undermanned Concordia (0-1) 23-0 in the home opener on Friday night in Molson Stadium. The Redmen easily dismantled their opponents and dispelled any thoughts of a hangover from last season’s heartbreaking Bagatteway Cup Final loss against the Guelph Gryphons.
The scoring came early and often, with McGill getting out to a 9-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Senior midfielder Rhys Burnell led the onslaught, notching a hat trick in the first 12 minutes of the contest before resting for the final three quarters. Burnell netted a career-high 14 goals in 10 games as a junior last season, and should easily break that mark as he takes on a greater offensive load this year.
“[Burnell] has been developing steadily for four seasons,” Head Coach Tim Murdoch said. “He’s a great finisher, a tough player, and he hustles really well.”
Rookie attackman Max Murdoch had a strong debut, breaking out to score seven points on three goals, and four assists in just three quarters. His ability to whip accurate passes around the net will add a scary new dimension to the already prolific Redmen offence.
McGill led 15-0 at halftime, even with the starting defence and several seniors sitting on the bench after the first quarter. For Concordia, there was no rest for the weary. The Stingers fielded just 13 players in comparison to McGill’s 31; fans who happened to sit close to the Concordia bench could hear their beleaguered head coach yelling at his players to switch only when absolutely necessary.
Still, Murdoch made sure to give credit Concordia’s goaltender, Philippe Carmant, who faced a nightmarish barrage of shots.
“I was very impressed by [Carmant],” Murdoch said. “I don’t even know how many shots we had and he made a ton of saves. If not the player-of-the-game, [he was] certainly the guy who worked hardest in the game, and he’s only a freshman.”
In a blowout like Friday night’s, Murdoch emphasized that he aimed to involve the whole team in the win to afford opportunities for player development and foster synergy among players who may not get much playing time together.
“We showed a lot of good consistency tonight,” Murdoch said. “It’s about trying to execute regardless of the caliber of your opponent. Everyone who was healthy got into the game and played well.”
On Saturday, the Redmen defeated the Carleton Ravens (0-1) 17-7 to extend their undefeated streak in the regular season to 28 consecutive games dating back to the 2012-2013 season. Junior attackman Spencer Bromley and senior midfielder Anders Bjella each had hat tricks. McGill will kick off a four-game road-trip with a rematch against Carleton on Wednesday, in Ottawa.
Moment of the game
Freshman Cyrus Wickersham tallied the first goal of his McGill career at the end of the first half. He would add an assist and another goal in garbage time to finish with three points.
On sending a message to the Guelph Gryphons with the win: “Guelph is concentrating on their week and we’re concentrating on ours. The message we want to send to ourselves is that if we’re playing well, we shouldn’t really have too much trouble with anybody.” —Head Coach Tim Murdoch
McGill outshot Concordia 51-5. Carmant, the Concordia goaltender, saved 28 shots.