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Photo: Marta Kierkus

Late game heroics push Gees ahead in special performance

The Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s hockey team won on and off the ice on Nov. 15.

Hosting the nation’s top-ranked Université de Montréal Carabins, to whom they lost 4-1 the previous week, the Gees had a chance to avenge the loss and gain possession of first place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) with a win.

Gee-Gees women’s hockey once again teamed up with Breast Cancer Action Ottawa, dedicating all of Sunday’s “Pink the Rink” match proceeds to the charitable organization.

Breast Cancer Action Ottawa is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for patients of breast cancer, the most common cancer among Canadian women that affects 25,000 each year. It’s a cause that surely hits close to home for players and fans alike.

The Gees played inspired hockey from the first minute on and applied constant pressure on Montréal, which produced the game’s opening goal by Mélina Roy.

The Carabins wasted no time responding  with a vengeance, quickly tying the game on a power play then converting a Gee-Gee turnover, making it 2-1 for the visitors.

Coming off a high-powered first period, the Carabins seemed intent on putting Ottawa away in the second. With a relentless attack, the Carabins generated countless scoring chances throughout the second period.

Although the second period was lopsided in Montréal’s favour, they could not find the back of the net thanks to red-hot Gee-Gees goalie Maude Lévesque-Ryan, who thwarted every scoring effort put forth by the Carabins throughout the period.

Lévesque-Ryan has been brilliant this season, leading the RSEQ with a .951 save percentage.

The Gee-Gees ultimately repaid their busy netminder with a game-tying goal by Roxanne Rioux.

Ottawa Head Coach Yanick Evola had his goaltender to thank for the team’s narrow escape of the second period. “I thought we were lucky to have a tie after two periods, Maude Lévesque-Ryan did a good job for us in the second,” Evola told Sports Services.

In the final period, Lévesque-Ryan’s magic wavered, and the consistent attack of the Carabins finally came to fruition. They notched two quick goals to begin the third, assuming a commanding 4-2 lead over the Gee-Gees.

But the resilient Gees refused to give up and matched their opponent with an offensive onslaught of their own.

With the Carabins back on their heels, the Gee-Gees forced several penalties late in the game, capitalizing on two of them with power play goals by Violane Houle and Mélodie Bouchard, to tie the game at 4-4.

In the dying minutes of a game seemingly headed to overtime, a loose puck in front of the Carabins’ net was picked up by Bouchard who grinded it in for her second goal of the night and the Gee-Gees’ game-winner.

The Gee-Gees came out of Sunday’s “Pink the Rink” game with a rousing 5-4 victory and possession of first place atop the RSEQ, as well as a successful benefit for Breast Cancer Action Ottawa.

The Gees will travel to Montreal next to take on the Concordia Stingers on Nov. 22.