After a double-overtime loss to the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins on Feb. 25 at Arena CEPSUM, the perennial national championship contender Martlets have been eliminated from the RSEQ playoffs, effectively ending their 2017-18 season. Despite second-year forward Jade Downie-Landry’s three points—two goals and an assist—the Martlets were unable to beat Carabins goaltender Marie-Pier Chabot in the second extra frame, and the home team eventually broke the deadlock to take the game 4-3.
The Martlets have qualified for Nationals every season since 2013 and for the RSEQ final since 2004. This was the final game of McGill’s best-of-three series in the semifinals of the RSEQ playoffs. The fourth-place Martlets were unable to come back from an early deficit in the first game of the series, but they retaliated in the second game at home with a definitive 5-2 win to force Sunday’s tie-breaking matchup.
The final game of the series got off to a fast and furious start, with neither team bending under the early pressure. It wasn’t until the final five minutes of the first period that first-year forward Kellyane Lecours was able to put the puck past Chabot. UdeM responded quickly, however, tying it up early in the second period with a goal from Valerie St.-Onge, setting up a back-and-forth rhythm that lasted the rest of the game. In the middle of the second period, a sudden breakaway from Downie-Landry put McGill ahead, but Emmanuelle Passard tied it up for the Carabins just a few minutes later.
UdeM took the lead just four minutes into the third frame, before Downie-Landry potted a power-play goal–her second of the game and fourth of the series—to tie the match at three. The two teams battled for that precious winning goal for the rest of the period, but their efforts were fruitless, forcing overtime.
With their seasons on the line, neither the Martlets nor the Carabins were willing to budge throughout the first overtime period. It wasn’t until McGill took a penalty with seven minutes remaining in the second overtime that the tides started to turn in UdeM’s favour. Less than two minutes later, Dubois fired her second goal past McGill goaltender Tricia DeGuire to secure the win for the Carabins, ending McGill’s 2017-18 season for good.
And, what a season it was. The Martlets had a rough start to the 20-game regular season—opening with four consecutive losses—before hitting their stride and continuing on to secure a 9-9-2 record, good for fourth in the conference. The team’s growth, evident in their trajectory across the season, drew praise from Head Coach Peter Smith.
“We’re a real young team,” Smith said. “We started on [Aug. 28], and [between] where we started and where we’ve come today, I can’t say enough about the development of this team.”
Despite their youth, the Martlets showed impressive discipline, both in forcing a tie-breaking game against the Carabins and in carrying the final game through to a second overtime period.
“We had a lot of maturity to gain over the course of the year, and towards those two last games, I think we absolutely showed it,” Deguire said.
The Feb. 25 loss was certainly a tough pill to swallow. However, with the bulk of the team returning and the added motivation of this year’s painfully close loss, the Martlets are primed for a successful 2018-19 season—and perhaps even a return to the U Sports National Championships.
Moment of the Game
Upon scoring a go-ahead goal in the second period, Jade Downie-Landry’s celebrated with a rousing windmill arm celebration.
“Next year will be an awesome year because we’ll be having the maturity come back, and all that other stuff.” – Second-year goaltender Tricia DeGuire on the Martlets’ future
It took 95 minutes of play to decide the winner in the tie-breaking game between the Martlets and the Carabins.