The McGill Martlets (3-4) handily took their Nov. 18 rematch against the Carleton University Ravens (3-4) 5-1 after applying steady offensive pressure in the second and third periods. McGill’s victory puts the Martlets on an upward trajectory, rebounding from an 0-4 start to the season to three consecutive wins.
“We scored five goals, that’s a good thing,” Martlet Head Coach Peter Smith said. “We’ve had a hard time scoring goals, so to score five in one game against a very good goaltender on the other side, it certainly is a positive.”
The game started with a quick tempo, but the Martlet offence couldn’t generate any scoring opportunities early on. Carleton’s momentum on the turnover was consistently quashed by McGill’s strong blueliners and penalty killers, but the constant pressure from penalties eventually wore down the Martlet defence later on.
Throughout the first period and the start of the second, Carleton proved they could block any offensive push coming down the center. McGill was quick to exploit Carleton’s weak defensive flanks, however, by breaking in from the sides and ripping shots from outside lanes. This revised strategy worked, as the Martlets shut out the Ravens 3-0 in the second period and took the third 2-1.
“Our best period was the second period,” third-year forward Shana Walker said. “We just had a shot mentality and kept shooting in the second period, and we weren’t exactly in the perfect zone to shoot but we shot anyways, and we got opportunities and goals.”
Despite the convincing victory, the players admitted that they didn’t play a perfect game.
“Just in the third period, our defence was kind of lacking,” second-year defender Cassidy Bell said.
McGill’s next game is on Nov. 24 against a strong opponent in the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees at McConnell Arena. Heading into this next match, the Martlets are confident that they can maintain their momentum, even though first and second years compose a majority of their bench.
“We practice really hard, we practice a lot,” third-year defender Emilia Cotter said. “I can see the improvements in the practice [….] It’s been going well, so I see a bright future.”
Moment of the game
The fifth and final McGill goal came about when the Carleton goalie tried to tried to jump on the puck and missed, leaving it to crawl into the slot where Martlet forward Olivia Atkinson shot on a virtually empty net.
“Even with so many first-years, everyone tries to talk to everyone and have more of a team dynamic, [….] It just ends up building our team chemistry even more.” – Martlet defender Cassidy Bell on team-building with a young bench
Stephanie Desjardins, a first-year, scored two goals in the second period to give McGill a commanding lead.