The second-ranked McGill Redmen (23-2-2) finished a record-setting season in impressive fashion as they shut out the Ottawa Gee-Gees (11-13-3) 7-0 in their final home game of the season at McConnell Arena Friday night. The Redmen dominated the Gee-Gees for the whole game as Guillaume Doucet scored four goals, Alex Picard-Hooper extended his CIS leading points total with a goal and four assists and goalie Hubert Morin registered his first shutout of the season. With the win, the Redmen established a new single-season team record of 23 wins.
McGill dominated the first period, outshooting the Gee-Gees 12-5, but were only able to take a 1-0 lead as defenceman Hubert Genest scored his fifth goal of the season. The second period started the same way as the Redmen continued to create scoring chances but were unable to finish.
Six minutes into the second, Guillaume Doucet took matters into his own hands and made an incredible play. Taking a pass in stride, he streaked down the left wing. As the Ottawa defender attempted to push him wide, the winger held off the defenceman with one hand while protecting the puck with the other. Doucet out-skated the defender, cut sharply to the net in front of the crease, and slipped the puck through the goalie’s five hole as the defenceman tripped him.
The goal put the Redmen up 2-0 and opened the floodgates. At 14:33 Christophe Longpre-Poirier got the puck in the corner of Ottawa’s end and found Doucet in the slot with a picture-perfect pass. Doucet quickly put the puck past Ottawa goalie Aaron Barton. 42 seconds later, Doucet scored again to complete the hat trick. That ended Barton’s night as he was pulled after allowing four goals on twenty shots.
“[Doucet] elevated his game in the last few weeks,” said Head Coach Kelly Nobes. “And that’s important for the team. To have a guy in his fourth year, likely his last year, and a leader amongst the group—it’s important for him to be playing at the top of his game and it looks as if he’s going to peak at the right time of the year. I’m happy for Guillaume and it’s going to be beneficial for the team.”
The third period was not any kinder to Gee-Gees back-up goaltender Harrison May than the first two periods were to Baron. McGill’s Picard-Hooper, Doucet and Jean-Francois Boisvert all scored in the third to make the game 7-0. Picard Hooper assisted on all four of Doucet’s goals.
The Redmen defence was incredible all night, as well, as Ottawa’s scoring chances were few and far between. The Gee-Gee’s were only able to register 18 shots and each time they threw the puck on net Morin was there to make the save. It was Morin’s first shutout of the season, improving his record to 14-2.
On Sunday, the Redmen concluded their regular season with a 4-1 victory over Concordia to claim the 24th annual Ronald Corey Cup and extend their single season win record to 24 games. Picard-Hooper added another two assists to extend his season points total to an incredible 58 points. He has clinched the OUA scoring title and has a 16-point lead in the CIS scoring race. If he holds on to win, he will be the first Redmen to lead the nation in scoring since Montreal Canadiens forward Mathieu Darche won the title in 2000.
McGill’s record-setting year comes in Head Coach Kelly Nobes’ first season behind the Redmen bench. This is the third time in his career that Nobes has led his team to a record setting regular season after previously doing so at RMC and Laurier.
“We’re excited [about the streak], we’re happy that we’ve done very well,” said third-year Redmen defenceman Ben Morse. “We’re happy that we improved and accomplished a pretty big milestone at both ends of the ice.”
While pleased with the record, Nobes and the Redmen have bigger goals on their minds, like winning the National Championship.
“[The winning record] is a nice accomplishment for the team,” said Nobes. “It’s certainly a feather in our cap if you will, but obviously moving forward in the playoffs we’re taking it one step at a time, but we want to win here in the playoffs.”
Now, the division-leading Redmen head into the OUA Eastern Conference playoffs. After finishing in eighth place, Ottawa will be McGill’s first round opponent in the best-of-three series. The first game of the series is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at McConnell Arena. The second match will be played in Ottawa on Friday night. If the series is tied, they will return to McGill on Sunday.
The Redmen are considered to be one of the favourites to win the National Championship, but they insist they are not overlooking their upcoming match-up with Ottawa.
“You have to go one series at a time—I know it’s cliché—but Ottawa is a tough team,” said Morse. “We’ve had some battles with them throughout the year, and they’re physical. For us [to succeed, we] have to step up to the plate … and play our own game and hopefully that works for us.”
“We’re focusing on staying in the moment and playing each game at a time, and even each shift at a time,” echoed Nobes. “We’re trying to stay in the moment and focus on what task is at hand. We’re not really looking any further than that.”