The stellar play of the men’s hockey team is bringing the legitimacy of the McGill Athletics advertising department into question. Wednesday’s annual Winter Carnival Game against Concordia looked and felt like anything but a rivalry match. A pair of hat tricks from centre Guillaume Doucet and left-winger Evan Vossen punctuated a night of absolute dominance, as the Redmen steamrolled the visiting Stingers 12-3 on before more than 1,000 spectators at McConnell Arena.
“It’s fun, especially when there’s a big crowd like that. We wait for those games all year. We know there’s going to be lots of people,” said Doucet. “It’s always a tough game against [Concordia], and tonight we came out strong.”
The Stingers came out aggressive and physical in the first period, but the Redmen responded at the 16-minute mark, with Vossen netting his first goal on the power play, and Doucet registering another only 27 seconds later. By the end of the first period, McGill held a healthy 21-4 advantage in shots on goal.
The floodgates opened for McGill in the second period as Francis Verrault-Paul scored his league-leading 17th goal of the season less than two minutes into the frame. Three more goals – including Vossen’s second – increased the Redmen’s lead to six and ended Concordia starting goalie Maxime Joyal’s night. Concordia finally got on the board with a shorthanded goal from captain Marc-Andre Element, but McGill would respond with two more goals in the period, capped by Doucet’s third goal to complete his hat trick.
With a 9-1 lead after 40 minutes, the Redmen faced a difficult choice: run up the score, or hold back.
“You don’t want to be accused of running up the score,” said Redmen Head Coach Jim Webster. “I’m in the coaching fraternity, [and] you don’t like that. We were playing everybody, and they just kept taking more penalties.”
By the time the final horn sounded, Concordia had racked up 100 minutes in penalties, compared to McGill’s 22. The Redmen kept their composure throughout the game, and Webster recognizes that his squad’s poise will play a crucial role in the postseason.
“I was really pleased with my captain, Yan Turcotte, [who had the] most penalty minutes in the league last year,” he said. “If we want to win the National Championship, we need to stay on the ice. He took a crosscheck right in the face, and didn’t beat up the guy like he would have done last year. That could bring us down. I take my hat off to him.”
Concordia received four 10-minute misconducts and three game misconducts on Wednesday. The possibility of suspensions for key Stingers players looms large.
“It’s tough to play, because you score some goals but you can’t get involved in the scrappy stuff,” said Turcotte. “You don’t want to get suspended. I liked what I saw, we didn’t retaliate too much.”
In the third period, the Redmen registered two shorthanded goals before Vossen finished off his hat trick with a power play goal in the final minute. Concordia scored twice in the third period, but their efforts were ultimately in vain – and Concordia’s third-period goals certainly did not dampen the spirits of McGill’s Management Carnival crowd. McGill finished the game with 61 shots on goal.
“Everybody’s playing, everybody’s working hard. It’s tremendous,” said Webster.
The Redmen kept the puck moving on Friday night, knocking off UQTR 2-1 in a competitive match. But McGill couldn’t muster the energy to dispatch a well-rested Carleton squad the next day. The loss snapped McGill’s 19-game home winning streak, but the Redmen remain atop the division standings.
McGill will journey to Trois-RiviÃ¨res to take on UQTR yet again on Wednesday night. The Redmen return home to face Nipissing University on January 24.