Even with the team up 4-0 against the Carleton Ravens (3-15-0) at the end of the first period, McGill Martlets Head Coach Peter Smith had no interest in the score as he went to address the squad (15-4-0) before the second period.
“We don’t really look at the scoreboard,” Smith said. “What I say in the room has nothing really to do with the scoreboard. It has more to do with what we are doing on the ice.”
McGill is a process-focused team that takes nothing for granted, a key to its sustained success over the course of the past decade. As such the Martlets did not relent over the next two periods of the game, putting another six goals past Carleton. The loss eliminated Carleton from contention in this year’s playoffs.
“It’s a hard game to play when you get up by that many goals,” Smith said. “As coaches, we keep on them to stick with the plan to stick with the habits. I thought we got away from it a few times. There are certainly lots of positives […] and when you score 10 goals, that’s positive.”
Smith also highlighted the performances of star forwards Melodie Daoust and Gabrielle Davidson. Davidson is now the leading scorer in the RSEQ and sits second in the CIS. Daoust, Davidson and freshman Alexandria Serpico each contributed two goals in the rout.
The victory also marked Daoust’s first game playing for the Martlets since 2013. In the interim, she went to Sochi with the Canadian national women’s hockey team, but had to sit out most of the regular season after injuring her knee just before the season. She will undoubtedly give McGill an offensive boost in the final game of the season, as well as during the playoffs.
McGill was impressive defensively, smothering Carleton on the counter-attack and conceding only 10 shots on net all game. Serpico, along with forwards Marie-Philip Lavoie and Leslie Oles, impressed with strong fore-checks, jamming the puck into Carleton’s portion of the rink for the majority of the game–a key component of the Martlets’ style of play.
“We work hard on that,” Smith said. “No matter who we are playing, we want to play the game down in their end and I thought generally we did a good job of that.”
Senior Kelsie Moffat controlled the tempo of the game, recording one goal and three assists. The other scorers were forwards Jordan McDonell and Olivia Sutter, who notched one each. The win also completed McGill’s regular season sweep of the Ravens.
Sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Smrke recorded her third shutout of the season, whereas Carleton pulled their starting goalie following McGill’s fourth goal. Sutter tallied McGill’s sixth shorthanded goal this year, the most by any team in the CIS this season. Smith, however, still noted some areas for improvement.
“I did not think our neutral zone was very good,” Smith said. “We turned the puck over too many times in the neutral zone in the first period, [but] I thought we got better as the game went on.”
McGill will not win every game as easily as this. They have one more regular season game left before the RSEQ playoffs, but the Martlets find themselves in good stead with Daoust back on the ice.
“I think we are on the right track,” Smith said. “We have got some healthy bodies back and we are starting to play with some really good structure [….] The team is working hard, and we’ll keep at it.”