The Gee-Gees will look to bounce back against Nipissing later this week. Photo: Hailey Otten/Fulcrum
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Van Lierop and Chenier scored for the Gees in 3-2 loss

The Gee-Gees men’s hockey team was poised to snatch first place in the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) Far East division going into Saturday afternoon’s game. A win in the final regular-season game against the University du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), would guarantee the Gees home-ice advantage throughout most of the playoffs.

The Garnet and Grey had won two of the four previous matchups between both teams.  

Before the game, graduating players Nicolas Mattinen, Brendan Makara, Yvan Mongo and Cody Van Lierop were honoured by varsity athletics. 

“Off the ice, the guys we’ve had over the past little while make coming to the rink everyday fire. So I like hanging out with these guys all day and I’m going to miss it a lot because it’s truly enjoyable and I’ll miss it forever,” said Cody Van Lierop.

It was the Patriotes who drew first blood when forward Samuel L’Italien scored his second goal of the season midway through the first period.

The UQTR built on their momentum in the second period when defenseman Jordan Lepage put his team up by two goals with a cannon of a shot.

However, the Gee were opportunistic, and scored two goals in the second period, including one on the power play. 

These goals were the work of Van Lierop and Bradley Chenier.

“I thought we battled hard, we answered properly and it was nice to get a power-play goal there. But you know, unfortunately, when you don’t score first it’s frustrating,” said Chenier in an interview with the Fulcrum.

Unfortunately for the Gees, Patriots forward, Vincent Milot-Ouellet buried a rebound in the third period to score his seventh of the season and the winning goal.

“It was nice to score at the end of the game, it was a really tight game and to make the difference at the end of the game — it’s really great,” said Milot-Ouellet. 

Despite a few shots which hit the posts, the Gees were unable to beat Patriotes goaltender Alexis Gravel.

The U of O’s head coach Patrick Grandmaître said his team deserved a better fate.

“It’s a frustrating game. A bad start could probably be equated to our bad power play. We got a power-play right in the first 10 seconds and we weren’t ready, and they played well. They took it to us, but then I liked how we bounced back,” said Grandmaître.

The Gee-Gees now get ready to travel to North Bay on Wednesday to take on the Nipissing University Lakers in their first-round playoff match.