U of O unable to complete comeback and fall 3-2 in home opener
The University of Ottawa’s men’s hockey team welcomed the Carleton Ravens at the Minto Sports Complex on Nov. 4, it was the first time fans filled the arena for Ontario University Athletics (OUA) hockey since the start of the pandemic.
In the preseason, the Gees went 1-2, losing to Queens 4-0 and splitting games with Carleton with a 5-4 loss, and a 3-1 win.
The Gee-Gees, who went all the way to the national championship in 2019-20, only have five returning players, with eighteen new faces joining the team for the 2021-2022 season.
An opening ceremony introducing the U of O roster was followed by a scoreless first period.
Perhaps it was first game jitters, or rust built up throughout the pandemic, but the Gee-Gees did not put on an impressive performance in the first 20 minutes of play. I’m not sure if it was the ice or whoever sharpened the team’s skates, but I don’t think I’ve seen a hockey game with so many people sliding around the ice instead of skating on it.
That said, the Gee-Gees outshot the Ravens in the first, and started to clean things up towards the final minutes of the period.
The second, however, was one sided with Ravens soaring all over the Gees zone. The U of O had no legs in the period and was dominated by Carleton.
U of O head coach Patrick Grandmaitre admitted that the Carleton team came out hard, and that they forced the Gees to make mistakes.
“Sometimes you look at the other team and you have to congratulate them. They came out hard and forced some mistakes on our part,” Grandmaitre said.
These mistakes led to the Ravens taking a two goal lead.
Gee-Gees goalie, Tristan Berube, made his fair share of exciting saves in the second. But an unfortunate contact in his crease with a Ravens player led to the team in black’s first goal.
The Ravens added to their lead when a Gee-Gee player turned the puck over to Parker Aucoin in front of the net.
“We gave it away and made bad decisions,” Grandmaitre said, recalling the next goal.
“There are a lot of mistakes we need to take care of.”
By the end of the second, the Ravens led 2-0.
In the third, the Gee-Gees finally found their footing.
The team had more urgency, and cleaned up their play.. The Gees put up plenty of shots, finally putting pressure on Ravens goaltender, Mark Grametbaur, who finished the game with 26 saves.
Branden Makara started the comeback for Ottawa when he found Nick Bowman who buried his first of the season to cut the Carleton lead in half.
Thank goodness the Gee-Gees scored: I was worried the crowd wouldn’t get to use their RBC noise makers. Can someone please tell me when RBC took over campus?
Only six minutes later Makara scored himself, tying up the game at two.
“We found ourselves in the latter half of the game,” Makara said after the game. “We made some adjustments… I think we need to be more prepared for the first period and hold that for all three instead of waiting for the end.”
Hope was replaced with anxiety as the final minutes of the clock winded down in the third, and the game was sent to overtime.
The seven minute three-on-three sudden death overtime did not go in favour of the Gee-Gees, and the home crowd definitely expressed disappointment as the Gees turned the puck over right into the stick of Ravens’ Aaron Boyd.
Boyd wouldn’t waste his opportunity for Carleton beating Berube with a shot over the shoulder, handing the home team their first loss of the season.
While the Ravens had a nice drive across town after their win, the Gee-Gees headed to the locker room to debrief and prepare for their next game.
Speaking of, the Gees will be in Montreal on Saturday Nov. 6 to take on McGill. They will be back home on Sunday Nov. 14 to face Concordia.