The McGill Redmen Hockey Team swept the OUA East Division Final in thrilling fashion on Saturday, beating the UQTR Patriotes 5-4 in double overtime. With the victory, the Redmen punched their ticket to the CIS Championship in Fredericton, where they finished second last season, losing to the University of New Brunswick. UQTR will have a second opportunity to seal their berth in the CIS Championship in the bronze medal game against the Windsor Lancers.
The McGill power play, which had gone one-for-20 in the first two rounds of the playoffs, exploded against UQTR, going five-for-15 in two games. The penalty kill, on the other hand, was nearly flawless this post-season, allowing just two goals in 20 opportunities.
Fifth-year captain Evan Vossen registered three assists in the deciding game and now leads the team in playoff scoring with 10 points in six games. Vossen is part of a core of seniors that includes OUA leading goal-scorer Francis Verrault-Paul, East Division MVP Marc-André Dorion, Second Team All-Star goaltender Hubert Morin, former CIS Player of the Year Alex Picard-Hooper, and overtime hero Andrew Wright.
Before the National Championship later this month, the Redmen will defend their Queen’s Cup title as OUA Champions in a one game playoff against the Western Mustangs. The game is almost a formality, however, as both teams will be playing in the Cavendish University Cup, where they hope to be crowned the best collegiate team in the country.
What makes this Redmen team so threatening is the depth of their lineup. Six McGill players have maintained at least a point-per-game pace in these playoffs. That list includes unsung hero Ryan McKiernan, who had four points in the series against UQTR. The list also excludes the dangerous Francis Verrault-Paul, who scored 21 goals in 23 games in the regular season, but who scored only once in the playoffs, a power play marker in game one of the series.
Depth was a major factor in the Redmen’s regular season success as well, as significant players such as Verraul-Paul, Picard-Hooper, McKiernan, and Patrick Belzille, among others, all missed time due to injury. In the playoffs, with a healthy lineup, the Redmen are poised for another run at the CIS title.
The Redmen will travel to London, Ont. this Saturday for the Queen’s Cup final. The CIS Cavendish University Cup Championship begins Thursday, March 22.