Martlets raise banner, shut out rivals Carabins in home opener

The no. 1 ranked McGill Martlets (2-0) defeated the Montreal Carabins (1-1), cross-town rivals and the second-ranked team in the nation, 3-0 in front of a passionate crowd at the McConnell Arena.

Before the Martlets’ dominant performance, the crowd was treated to the unveiling of the 2013-2014 championship banner and the ring presentation. It was a fitting reminder of how excellent this team has been under Head Coach Peter Smith’s tenure, with an impressive 401-143-31 record over 14 seasons. It was also a reminder of the huge expectations resting on the Martlets’ shoulders for this season.

The Montreal Carabins were a fitting opponent for the season opener. The Carabins have been the main thorn in the Martlets’ side over the past two years. They knocked McGill out of playoff contention in 2012-2013, and beat them in the RSEQ Championship game in 2013-2014. McGill got the last laugh with a thrilling victory over the Carabins in the CIS Championship game—but it took two tense overtime periods to bring home the title. The Martlets knew not to underestimate their opposition.

McGill was more than up for the challenge. The team played with a high level of intensity at both ends of the rink. They were one of six on their own power plays, and shut the Carabins out on their five power plays. Kelsie Moffatt, U3 Education, was effective on defence. Two minutes into the second period, she intercepted and cleared two Carabins attacks. Moffat’s energy also contributed to many counterattacks, and she ably supported sophomore goaltender Brittany Smrke.

Smith was happy that his more experienced players stepped up on the penalty kill. Moffatt, Leslie Oles, Brittney Fouracres, Stefanie Pohlod, Katia Clement-Heydra, and Gabrielle Davidson have all been in the program for at least three years. They kept the team calm in the face of a physical Carabins attack and formed a ruthlessly efficient lineup when on the ice together.

Despite their phenomenal defence, the Martlets were inconsistent on offence. They netted only three goals on 20 shots. The Carabins shut out McGill in the second period by getting their bodies behind the McGill attackers, and by cutting off the space behind the goal. McGill also only converted one of their many one-on-one opportunities in the third period, when Leslie Oles assisted senior Fouracres on a counterattack. Rookie forward Alexandra Serpico was a bright spot on the night notching two assists in the first period, setting up Pohlod in the third minute of the game and Davidson in the seventh minute.

McGill’s game was clearly sharpened by its tough pre-season against NCAA teams. The Martlets have made a huge statement in defeating the number two in the nation, and showed why they are the number one team in Canada.

The Martlets defeated the Ottawa Gee Gee’s (1-2) by a score of 4-3 on Sunday to round out their weekend , and will look to start their season 3-0 with a win in their rematch against Ottawa at the McConnell Arena on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 3 p.m.

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