Tensions rise as rival hockey teams clash at TD place

Over 2,000 fans packed the TD Place arena on Friday, Nov. 17 to see the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees defeat their cross-town arch-rivals, the Carleton Ravens, by a final score of 4-3, with many students from both schools coming to show their support.

Many considered this duel to be the “Panda Game” of hockey, the football game of that name being played annually at the nearby TD Stadium, which is also home to the Ottawa 67’s junior hockey team and is located at Lansdowne Park.

Although the first period did not see any goals, the crowd was still entertained, seeing a lot of action at both ends of the ice. Scoring chances and shots were at a high on both sides with the Gees creating a couple of turnovers. Both teams played great defensively, and the visiting Gee-Gees had a slight edge in the shots sections after the opening 20 minutes, at 11 shots to 10.

Both goalies, Ottawa’s Graham Hunt and Carleton’s François Brassard, had a great period. A lot of physical action could also be seen as a scrum started between a few players at the end of the period, following which the referees handed Carleton a two-minute penalty to start the second. The Gee-Gees would not able to convert, however, as the Ravens’ penalty kill ended up being too strong.

Ottawa and Carleton both had great chances offensively, but it was the Raven’s defenceman Joshua Burnside who was first to find the back of the net for the hosts around the 14-minute mark of the second period. But the Gee-Gees would not give up, as they multiplied their offensive work after the goal and finally found the back of the net a little more than a minute after the Ravens did, on a shot from below the goal line by forward Patrick White.

As everyone thought the two teams would go back to the locker rooms tied after forty minutes of play, Adam Chapman’s shot from the right circle beat Hunt with half a minute to play, and that proved to be the difference-maker thus far.

Ottawa came out strong to start the third period, with two goals inside the first three minutes of play. Down a goal, Carleton chased the game for a big part of the period, creating favourable chances in the U of O’s end. It would be the Gee-Gees’ defence coming out strong, and Kevin Domingue would ultimately give his team a 4-2 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the game on a point shot that hit the glass behind goalie Brassard before bouncing off his back and entering the net, a goal that hurt the Ravens—and their fans. This would end up being the game-winner for the visitors, as Carleton scored one last time with five seconds left. The Ravens lost their third game of the season and currently post a record of eight wins, three losses. For the Gees, it was their first win after four consecutive losses, and they now have a 5-6 record. The final shots on goal were 30-30.

Of both teams, Carleton were the ones with the most fans, as they were loud, entertained, and positive all night long. Screams and chants were coming from both sides to encourage their favorite team as much as they could, in what really seemed to be a very special game for everyone. “We are very impressed by this crowd, we honestly didn’t think there would be that much fans,” said Siavash Ghazvinian and Sophie Routhier Leblanc, two U of O students attending the game.

Emotions and excitement from players were at their high all game long, as they were happy to have the chance of participating in this event with such an intensity. “It’s definitely a great atmosphere drawn by the fans, I greatly appreciated the energy and the encouragements from the crowd,” said Gees forward Connor Sills.

Gee-Gees head coach Patrick Grandmaître said he was proud of his players’ performance, who had lost at home against the Ravens a week earlier. “We have been struggling in the past couple weeks to put up complete games, so I’m very happy for the guys, they played a hard one here tonight.”

Both teams had a total of four chances on the power play, but Ottawa was the only team to convert on theirs, with one goal. “I would say our power play wasn’t clicking, but we definitely had some good zone possession, and good shots on net. To me, it was good enough, but could be better,” said Grandmaître.

Ottawa had their next test Saturday night against the visiting Royal Military College Palladins. Their next game is now this coming Saturday, Nov. 24, against the Ryerson Rams, at the Minto Sports Complex. Meanwhile, the Ravens played against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières on Saturday, and they will play hosts to the York Lions this Friday.