Hockey, Sports

Redbirds fall to Ravens in front of packed Winter Carnival crowd

On Jan. 13, in the midst of a snowstorm, the McGill Redbirds hockey squad (11–5–3) welcomed the Carleton Ravens (7–7–3) to McConnell Arena in front of a crowd of 1,029. After a hard-fought game, the Ravens defeated the Redbirds 4-2. This result bumps the Redbirds to fourth place in the East division of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings, one point behind the Concordia Stingers and a mere four points ahead of the Ravens. 

The evening kicked off with second-year centre, Caiden Daley, striking first. The goal came just over eight minutes into the first, off an assist by second-year Alex Plamondon and first-year Olivier Tremblay. The early goal set the intensity of the game and electrified the packed arena. 

Head coach David Urquhart noted that the spirit of the crowd aided the Redbird’s strong start. 

“You could feel the extra energy in the building, and our team was energized and responded with a great first period,” Urquhart wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “While it was not the result we wanted, it was fun to have the extra crowd support.” 

The first period ended with unsuccessful chances by second-year forward Eric Uba and swift saves made by fourth-year goaltender Emanuel Vella in the final minute.  

The Ravens evened the score at the top of the second, with a sharp shot making it past Vella in the opening minutes of the period. The Redbirds then squandered several attempts to retake the lead. Second-year forward Brandon Frattaroli’s rush from the Redbirds’ defensive zone all the way to the Ravens’ goal gave the fans hope but was ultimately fruitless. 

Growing frustration came to a head with a few scrums in front of the net and forward Jordan-Ty Fournier being handed a minor roughing penalty. This power play allowed Carleton forward Madoka Suzuki to swiftly bury a puck in the back of the McGill net, closing out the period with a 2-1 lead. 

The third period opened with an altercation between two Carleton players and third-year forward William Poirier, setting the mood for the final act of the game. Renewed speed and tensions reigned, as a third goal by Carleton in the first five minutes left the Redbirds deflated with a two-goal deficit to recover from. First-year centre William Rouleau took it upon himself to bring the deficit to one, scoring on a power play with  assists from forwards Uba and Frattaroli, reviving hope for Redbird supporters. 

In the last moments of the game, the atmosphere heightened, as the crowd hoped for overtime. After pulling the goaltender with two minutes left, the Carleton offence managed to tally one last goal, in the last minute of play. 

Team captain and fifth year defender, Taylor Ford, felt that his team had been outmatched

“We slowed down a bit in the second period and let them back into the game,” he conceded.  “Overall, we played well and didn’t capitalize on our chances. Their goalie played well.”

“We had a strong third period but the late push was not enough to come back from the two-goal deficit,”  Urquhart added. 

Despite this loss, the Redbirds are still in the top half of the OUA standings, in fourth position, with the next face-off against Université du Québec à Trois Rivières’s Patriotes on Jan. 18, before confronting them on home ice on Jan. 21. 

Stat Corner

The night closed with a total of 12 minor penalties, six per team, including five penalties for roughing, creating multiple power play opportunities.

Quotable: 

“The McGill men’s hockey team would like to thank all of those fans who came out and supported us. The arena was loud all night and it was exciting for us to play.” 

—Captain Taylor Ford  

Moment of the Game:

Those in attendance might have noticed that one of the two referees officiating the game, Elizabeth Matha, became the first woman to officiate a men’s game at McGill.

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