In their last game of the regular season, the McGill Martlets (9-9-1), defeated the Carleton Ravens (3-15-2). In the fast-paced affair, the Martlets comfortably outperformed their opponents, winning 3-2.
In the first stanza, the ice seemed tilted toward Carleton’s end. McGill dominated the game, trapping Carleton in their own zone for long stretches at a time, employing their speed to win races and battles for the puck. McGill drew first blood when first-year forward Christiana Colizza redirected a point shot fired by third-year rearguard Zoe Todd past the Carleton netminder.
The Ravens responded only a few moments later, when a forward managed to fire a shot past second-year McGill goalie Tricia Deguire. Later in the frame, McGill was issued the only penalty of the period, but the Martlet penalty kill unit was exceptional, extinguishing the Raven’s efforts.
After a goal from first-year forward Marika Labreque moments into the second stretch, it appeared that McGill was about to run away with the game, as they continued their solid play from the first period. However, their speed faded, and Carleton managed to hang on and stay in the game. The Ravens evened the score midway through the period at 2-2 after a Carleton attacker jammed in a loose puck during a pile-up around the net. At the second intermission, the team focused on returning to their first-period form.
“We wanted to stick to the game plan,” Head Coach Peter Smith said. “We didn’t make a lot of tactical changes, but the girls needed a reminder at the end of the second period that they needed to start playing fast the way that we normally do. And they did.”
In the final period, Smith’s motivational impact was evident: McGill regained their speed from the first and put together many excellent scoring opportunities. The Martlets look the lead with the go-ahead goal on the powerplay when Labreque batted in a loose puck for her second goal of the night. For the remainder of the period, the team was unable to extend their lead, but ultimately outlasted their adversaries, hanging on to defeat the Ravens 3-2.
With the regular season behind them, the Martlets have turned their attention towards the RSEQ playoff, where they will face off against the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins (14-2-4) in the first round.
“Our last few games haven’t been as meaningful as they could [have been],” Smith said. “I think our group is really looking forward to starting the playoffs and getting going and playing against a solid team, and we’ll be set to go.”
Despite losing to the Carabins 10-0 in their last meeting on Feb. 11, the Martlets believe that they are ready to take on the division-leading Montreal squad.
“After our loss last time against Montreal, we had our things we wanted to focus on to improve going into playoffs and I think we […] worked on those and got them done,” alternate captain and third-year forward Olivia Atkinson said.
The Martlets will play UdeM on Feb. 22 at Arena CEPSUM, before returning to McConnell Arena on Feb. 24. If necessary, the series will conclude at the Arena CEPSUM for the final game of the series on Feb. 25.
Moment of the Game
During a Martlet power play in the third period, second-year forward Jade Downie-Landry launched a shot toward the net. Through a logjam of bodies, it found its way to first-year forward Marika Labreque’s stick, and she potted the game-winning goal and her second of the night.
“We know what we have to do. We’re playing Montreal obviously, and it wasn’t a good game last time, but we know where we […] broke down against them last time and I think we know where we need to focus on to come out on top.” – Alternate captain and forward Olivia Atkinson on the Martlets playoff matchup against the Carabins.
With a 41-18 margin, the Martlets more than doubled the Ravens shooting output.