2017-18 marked a successful campaign for the McGill Redmen hockey team, as they captured their 18th OUA Queens Cup and competed at the U Sports National Championships for the second year in a row. Their consistently solid play in the regular season led to a 22-4-2 record and a first-place finish in the OUA East Division. All season, contributions came from up and down the squad’s deep roster: Third-year centre Jerome Verrier led the team in assists and points, with 29 and 41 respectively, while third-year forward Christophe Lalonde led the team in goals with 13. Second-year masters student and captain Nathan Chiarlitti led the rearguard and chipped in three goals and 13 assists. The back end also proved vital offensively, as third-year skater Dominic Talbot-Tassi was second in points on the team with 25. In the crease, second-year goaltender Louis-Phillip Guindon had an exceptional year, stopping shots with a sparkling 2.22 goals against average—an OUA best. Behind the bench, Head Coach Kelly Nobes was the recipient of the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as the U Sports coach of the year.
Heading into the playoffs, the Redmen maintained their momentum from the regular season: They destroyed the Laurentian University Voyageurs by a combined score of 14-3 in two games, then downed the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in three.
However, McGill found more difficulty in the OUA East final series against their cross-town rivals, Concordia. The Redmen lost their first game at home, but forced a tie-breaking third game with a suspenseful overtime win in game two. In the end, McGill secured first place in the OUA East division and booked their ticket to nationals with a game three win over the Stingers 6-2. Before heading to the U Sports National Championships, McGill battled the Brock University Badgers on March 10 for the Queen’s Cup (OUA Championship). It was a chippy contest, but the Redmen easily ousted their opponents, securing the Queen’s Cup with a 5-1 victory.
Heading into the national championships in Fredericton, third-seeded McGill faced off against the sixth-seeded University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the quarterfinal on March 16. The Huskies entered the tournament as Canada West Finalists, after finishing in second at the 2016-17 U Sports Championship. In a scrappy affair, the two sides received 84 combined penalty minutes. The contest was tight: The shot total favoured McGill by a tiny 34-33 margin. The Huskies were up 2-0 early in the second, but the Redmen halved the deficit later in the stanza when first-year forward Antoine Dufort-Plante buried one on the powerplay. The Redmen pressed in the third, but fell behind by two halfway through the frame when the Huskies scored on a deflection that fooled Guindon. Despite their many opportunities—including several shots dinged off the post—the Redmen were unable to come back, ultimately falling 4-1 after the Huskies potted an empty net goal.
The University of New Brunswick (UNB) Varsity Reds eventually defeated the Huskies for the bronze medal, while the University of Alberta Golden Bears beat the Saint Francis Xavier X-Men in the gold-medal game to secure the David Johnston University Cup.
The Redmen will lose four seniors to graduation this offseason, including defencemen Chiarlitti and Francis Lambert-Lemay, forward Jan Kaminsky, and goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard. However, as the team retains much of its roster, they will look to build upon this season’s achievements next year. When they return in the fall, their eyes will be set on another appearance at nationals and a run at the U Sports Cup.