On Feb. 1, the McGill men’s hockey team (16-11) defeated the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) (13-13) Ridgebacks in an exciting 3-2 overtime win. Despite a slow start to the game, McGill opened scoring in the first period with a goal from second-year defenceman Nikolas Brouillard assisted by fourth-year defenceman Dominic Talbot-Tassi and first-year defenceman Johnatan Legault.
“We had a little bit of a rough start,” first-year defenceman Taylor Ford said. “They were kind of all over us. We expected that, because we won last time, we were there, but we found a way to win, and that’s all that counts.”
The second period saw two Ridgeback goals, but McGill continued to create scoring opportunities. The home side recorded 12 shots in the second period, while UOIT took eight.
Entering the third period, McGill remained persistent in front of the OUIT net with 10 shots to the Ridgebacks’ five. With two minutes left in the game and the score sitting at 2-1 in UOIT’s favour, McGill pulled third-year goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon to put an extra skater on the ice. Fourth-year centre and captain Jerome Verrier scored the equalizing goal almost immediately with an assist from third-year defenceman Nathanael Halbert and second-year forward Michael Cramarossa, sending the game into overtime.
Three minutes into the overtime period, third-year right wing Samuel Tremblay, assisted by Talbot-Tassi and second-year forward Keanu Yamamoto, capitalized on a power play to secure the 3-2 home ice victory for McGill.
McGill currently sits third in the OUA East and has secured its spot in the OUA playoffs.
“[We’re] confident,” Ford said. “We’ve had a couple good games where we’re playing really good hockey [….] If we can keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be heading into [the] playoffs in the right shape.”
After a loss to Concordia on Feb. 2, McGill could finish anywhere between second and sixth in the conference.
“We have [a] strong tradition and history of being toward the top of the conference,” Associate Coach Liam Heelis said. “We’re not there now, but it’s going to be nice coming in [on] a different avenue than normal, and our guys are really excited.”
The playoffs will certainly present unique challenges, but the team is optimistic about this final stretch of the season.
“Once [the] playoffs come around, the intensity gets a little bit higher,” Ford said. “If we can keep doing what we’re doing and getting better in practice, I think we’ll be good.”
Heelis spoke to the team’s progression since the winter break.
“Our guys […] have really come together in the new year,” Heelis said. “We’ve been building on our success each and every week, and we’re really excited for [the] playoffs quickly approaching.”
This was the final home game of the regular season for McGill, and, with six wins in their last 10 games, the team is looking strong going into their final game of the season on Feb. 9 against the Queen’s Gaels (18-8).
Moment of the Game
In the final minutes of the third period, fourth-year centre Jerome Verrier tied the game to force an overtime period, giving McGill a chance to claim victory in their final home game of the regular season.
“Our guys were really able to just stick to the process of the game plan and found a way to tie things up at the end.” – Associate Coach Liam Heelis on the last minute comeback for McGill.
McGill played a strong offensive game, outshooting the Ridgebacks 31-20.