On Nov. 4, the McGill Redmen (8-2-0) outlasted the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks (5-2-1), 4-2, in a hockey match plagued by penalties and turnovers. While it wasn’t a dominant performance, McGill coaches were still happy with the effort that placed them atop the OUA.
“Overall, it was a good team game,” Redmen Assistant Coach David Urquhart said. “We played for a solid 60 minutes, which is good to see on back-to-back nights, to not have a letdown after having a big win the night before.”
McGill’s offence was slow to start in the first two periods of the game. Finding trouble executing breakouts and generating scoring opportunities, the Redmen only scored one goal in the first period.
“Sometimes it’s [that] you get sloppy in the slot and you don’t apply the extra effort to put it behind the goalie,” third-year forward Jerome Verrier said. “Once everything [is] working, […] you just shoot the puck and it goes in.”
To add to their uphill battle, the Redmen were frustrated by an extended string of penalties. While such a handicap usually dooms teams, McGill’s stellar penalty-kill dug in and fended off UOIT on almost every power play.
“I can’t say that we could have done anything better than what we did defensively,” third-year defenceman Dominic Talbot-Tassi said. “We got scored on in the last [penalty kill….] Maybe we could have blocked that shot, but we played a solid game defensively.”
Once again, the Redmen strategy of attrition paid off, finally wearing the Ridgebacks down. Late in the game, McGill’s emphasis on puck control won out as they outmaneuvered UOIT with crisp tape-to-tape passes and took the second period 2-1.
“We’ve been working on our conditioning, we’ve been working on our battle drills and everything like that,” fifth-year forward Jan Kaminsky said. “At the end of the day, if we’re going into the second and third period [with better conditioning] than the other team, we’re gonna wear them down and see some success in the later parts of the game.”
The win placed the Redmen at the top of the OUA conference. With upcoming matches against the Laurentian Voyageurs on Nov. 10 and the Nipissing Lakers on Nov. 11, they have every intention of holding their first-place league position.
“We can beat anybody in this league, so [if we] just play our style and everything will go well,” Verrier said.
Moment of the Game
With 20 seconds left in the second period, the puck zigzagged across the offensive end down to the slot, where second-year centre Alexandre Sills stuffed a one-timer in the net.
The Redmen and Ridgebacks took a combined 44 minutes in penalties.
“Usually they [the referees] let us play more, but tonight they were strict and we had to adapt to it” – McGill third-year defenceman Dominic Talbot-Tassi on the numerous penalties on both sides.