The McGill Redmen (5-4-0) fell to the Laval Rouge et Or (5-0-4) Friday 3-1. After matching Laval through the first half, the Redmen had a rocky second half, allowing the visitors to pull ahead and score two goals in less than 10 minutes.
Coming into Friday’s match, only two points separated the top four teams in the RSEQ, with Laval and McGill sitting in second and third place, respectively. After falling to the Rouge et Or at home by a score of 4-2 in their previous matchup, the Redmen were looking to secure not only a playoff spot, but retribution.
For the first 10 minutes, McGill held the upper hand, demonstrating aggressiveness by mounting four attacks on the Laval net. Despite the hosts’ early pressure, Laval’s defence persisted, buoyed by Rouge et Or goalkeeper Jean-François Desrosiers, who turned away shot after shot. In the 12th minute, however, Laval opened the scoring with a goal off of a lighting quick counterattack that snatched away momentum from McGill’s hands.
Laval has only allowed eight goals all season, and if the Redmen were to keep the game from sliding out of reach, they had to remain composed and reply promptly, which they were able to do. After a tense back and forth, a brilliant pass from Redmen junior defender Patrick Fusarini set up a goal from star forward Alexander King, tying the game in the 26th minute. The rest of the first period was punctuated with strong defensive plays from both sides, and several close attempts at Laval’s net that kept spectators on the edge of their seats.
After the first 45 minutes, the score remained tied at 1-1. Both sides held equal possession of the ball, and shots on net were even at four apiece. However, the second period went largely in favour of the visitors, who seemed to come out of the half re-energized. Despite a steady showing from backup goalkeeper Thomas Daechsel, a junior from Kingston, Ontario, Laval succeeded in hammering the ball through the Redmen defence twice in the second half to pull away for good, much to the dismay of Head Coach Marc Mounicot.
“After the second goal, we didn’t react and that was a huge negative for me,” Mounicot said.
Moments after Redmen striker Massimo Di Ioia was given a yellow card, Laval’s Jimmy McLaughlin gave his team the lead on a powerful shot from outside the box. The goal proved to be the turning point in Laval’s victory as they gained momentum and didn’t look back. Less than 10 minutes later, a goal by Laval’s Amaury Fauverge put the nail in the coffin.
“We should have gained momentum and fought back, but instead our heads dropped, and that allowed them to take the game,” King explained.
Even with the loss, the Redmen remain optimistic. They currently sit in third place in the RSEQ standings, separated from the league-leading Rouge et Or by only four points. King, a senior, stressed the importance of maintaining a high level of team chemistry.
“What is going to be important is to stay together as a team, to keep up a good spirit among the guys even if we lose,” King said. “It is important to still have confidence.”
The Redmen bounced back with a 2-1 win over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or (1-6-1) on Sunday. King was excellent once again and scored both goals.
The Redmen still have three games left to battle for a spot in the league’s semifinals. Their next game will be played at home against the Montreal Carabins (4-2-3) on Sunday Oct. 19. With a win, the Redmen would sweep the season series with Montreal and secure a playoff berth.