The McGill Men’s hockey team (0–1–0) opened their OUA regular season at home on Oct. 3 against the Ottawa Gee–Gees (1–0–0). Despite the enthusiastic crowd, the home team came up short, losing 3–2.
The game started at a fast pace, with good puck movement and checking from both sides. McGill took an early slashing penalty in the neutral zone one minute in; however, their solid penalty kill unit, who has given up one power play goal in their last three games, showed up to shut down Ottawa.
A few minutes into the first period, with McGill’s offence pressing, third-year forward Antoine Dufort-Plante buried his first goal of the season from just outside the crease. The momentum continued in McGill’s favour as Ottawa took two penalties in the next two minutes, giving the home side a critical five-on-three powerplay.
McGill’s powerplay unit moved the puck beautifully and took multiple shots on net. Ottawa’s goalie and defence stood strong though, and McGill was unable to increase their lead. Losing this offensive opportunity would prove costly: Minutes later, immediately after McGill killed another penalty, Ottawa outnumbered the home side in the offensive zone and capitalized on this opportunity, barely squeezing the puck past fourth-year goalie Louis-Philip Guindon to tie the game at 1–1.
In the second period, the home team struggled out of the gate. Ottawa took advantage of the opening, scoring within the first minute to take a 2–1 lead. The Gee-Gees continued to press in McGill’s end, and again, Ottawa found the back of the net, finishing a beautiful cross-crease goal to extend their lead to 3–1.
Third-year forward Michael Cramarossa, currently co-leading the team in points this year, was frustrated with this tough stretch of the game.
“We didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” Cramarossa said. “That was our game plan from the beginning, and I think we left that, after their first [goal] and in the second [period].”
In the third period, McGill came out with a new energy, outskating the Gee-Gees and creating chances to put themselves back into the game. Five minutes into the period, second-year forward Ryan Penny buried on a rush, narrowing the goal difference to one. The home team continued to control play in the offensive end, especially as time became scarce. With Guindon pulled to give them another attacker, McGill came extremely close to tying the game, even hitting the post. Ultimately, McGill fell short by a final score of 3–2.
McGill’s season continues with a tough opening stretch, as they go on the road for five of their next six games. Penny, who scored his ninth point of the season, is focused on what the team needs to do in order to bounce back in this next stretch.
“Just play simple,” Penny said. “Just stick to our game plans and pull out some road wins to get some confidence to begin the season.”
McGill plays The University of Windsor Lancers on Oct. 11.
Moment of the Game:
Antoine Dufort-Plante scored McGill’s first goal of the game and regular season right near the crease, sending the McGill home crowd to their feet.
“Statistic wise, it doesn’t really matter [to me]. I just care if we get the win.” – Third-year forward Michael Cramarossa on his current team co-lead in points.
Fourth-year goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon saved 41 shots, a season-high for the netminder.