On perhaps the last warm and sunny Saturday of the year, the McGill Redmen (8-0) continued their season-long win streak with an 18-3 drubbing of the second-seeded Carleton Ravens (5-1) at Molson Stadium. Undefeated in conference play dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, the Redmen have turned excellence into a routine. That’s not to say there haven’t been hiccups along the way–the team’s three previous games were either decided by one goal or sent into overtime.
“Going into the three close games, we hadn’t really been tested yet, with our smallest margin of victory being six goals, and I think we started to get a bit complacent,” co-captain Jack Stewart said. “We came out flat against Queen’s and Trent and nearly lost both of those games. It was a wakeup call for us, and we wanted to make a statement that proved those games were a fluke.”
The Redmen had clearly made a statement after just 20 minutes, when McGill was already up by five goals thanks to a stellar three-goal period from senior Connor Goodwin.
Prior to Saturday, Goodwin had posted unbelievable numbers in every game, sitting at 16 points in five games. With his show-stealing performance against the Ravens, Goodwin vaulted ahead in the conference leaderboard. McGill now has three players among the top-ten point scorers in the conference, with sophomore attackman Spencer Bromley leading the Redmen with 27 points this season.
McGill’s unchallenged dominance took most of the drama out of the contest early on for the spectators. But for the second and third-string players who came off the bench in the second half, the game was a chance to showcase their skills. Among them was Montreal native Louis-Charles Génereux. The first-year midfielder provided some excitement for the crowd by scoring his first goal as a Redmen.
Up big at the beginning of the second half, the Redmen didn’t lift their foot off the gas. The visiting Ravens were frustrated as the game transitioned from friendly competition into a bitter physical battle between the two teams. Brutal hits from behind and excessive slashes were doled out all over the field by the Ravens’ defence, yet very few penalties were called. Nonetheless, it’s hard to fault the referee’s judgment in such a lopsided game.
For Head Coach Tim Murdoch, the blowout was more about the process rather than the final score.
“We saw a lot of guys [come off the bench] and give us a lot of quality play […] and that’s something we all need to be happy about,” Murdoch said. “At the same time, it’s crucial we don’t stay complacent and don’t slow down when the game’s going our way. Today the boys played all four quarters, and we need to make sure we keep doing that.”
Murdoch is aware of the long road ahead to the playoffs, and emphasized the team’s need to prepare for stouter competition once the regular season ends. In the Western Conference of the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA), Brock University has now won five straight games, and with several other teams headed into the post-season with heads full of steam, the Redmen are aware of the challenges they will face. Regardless of how McGill fares in the playoffs, fans should be excited for some gripping action between high-caliber teams.
After the impressive showing on Saturday, it appears that McGill’s formula is a winning one. With eight games already in the bag and the playoffs rapidly approaching, the Redmen look poised to mount another post-season challenge. Their quest to make a third straight Baggataway Cup Final continues against the Concordia Stingers (0-5) on Saturday, Oct. 4 in a 7:30 p.m. game under the lights at Molson Stadium.