The McGill Redmen suffered their first loss of the 2011-2012 season on Friday night, falling to the UQTR Patriotes in overtime by a score of 4-3. Despite getting a point in the loss, the second-ranked Redmen were outplayed for the majority of the game and scored two goals in the final four minutes to force the extra frame.
McGill got on the board early, as rookie Guillaume Langelier-Parent knocked home a rebound just 2:53 into the game. The Redmen held the lead until the eighth minute of the second period when UQTR’s Michel Ouellet tied the game at one. Ouellet netted his second goal of the night at 8:51 of the third and Félix Petit added another just two and a half minutes later as UQTR moved ahead 3-1. The Redmen clawed back with just over four minutes remaining, getting goals from captain Evan Vossen and sophomore defenceman Vincent Bourgeois in a span of 1:49 to force overtime. The comeback would fall short, however, as UQTR’s Félix Lefrancois beat Redmen goalie Hubert Morin with 50 seconds remaining in the extra period.
With the victory, the Patriotes improved to 5-2 on the season and moved into first place atop the OUA East Division. Despite being outshot 30-29 on the evening, UQTR played an excellent defensive game, keeping McGill to the outside of their zone, and allowing very few quality scoring chances. Though the game was back and forth in the first period, the Patriotes controlled the majority of the play and looked especially sharp after drawing even in the second.
Although they rallied late to steal a point in the losing effort, the Redmen were far from satisfied with their performance. “We stopped moving our feet,” McGill Head Coach Kelly Nobes said after the game. “We have to put together 60 minutes against a good team like that. We made a comeback there in the third, but I didn’t think we deserved to win.”
McGill’s top line of Francis Verrault-Paul, Alex Picard-Hooper, and Andrew Wright consistently controlled the puck in the offensive zone, but failed to generate anything substantial. “We’re successful when we get the puck down low and start using each other,” Wright said, who echoed his coach’s words, adding, “We weren’t moving our feet like we normally do, and for that reason we weren’t getting open and we weren’t getting clear shots. I don’t think any team could keep up with us if we play a full 60 minutes.”
The strength of this Redmen team is their speed and forechecking, but they have yet to establish either over the course of a full contest so far this season. Their depth has been a large factor in the team’s 4-0-1 start, despite the lack of consistency. McGill dropped their second OT decision of the weekend by a score of 3-2 at Concordia’s Ed Meagher Arena but they will get a quick chance to avenge the defeat Friday, Oct. 28 when the Stingers pay a visit to McConnell Arena.