Sports

The game took place on Friday night. Photo: Desmond Staples/The Fulcrum

Men’s hockey program could reach OUA East final for first time since program re-inception with win

The University of Ottawa men’s hockey team defeated the UQTR Patriotes on Friday night to push their best of three series to a final showdown that will take place in Trois-Rivières on Sunday afternoon.

The first period was scoreless, with both teams shotting 11 times. The Gee-Gees had most of the dangerous chances, including a scrum in front of the net that almost resulted in a goal for Ottawa. 

Early in the second period, the Gees found themselves on a five-on-three powerplay after Trois-Rivères took two penalties back to back. Connor Sills sauced the puck to Nicolas Mattinen who took a shot on UQTR goalie. The goalie made the save and after a broken play, Cody Drover managed to knock in the rebound to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead.

Less then a minute later, UQTR forward Mathieu Boucher took advantage of an Ottawa change to break away on the far side from the benches. Boucher went forehand on Gee-Gees netminder Domenic Graham. The goalie made the save, reaching the puck with his left pad, but was unable to save the rebound when Boucher shoved the puck in the net to tie the game at 1-1. 

The Gee-Gees outshot the Patriotes 16 to eight in the second period but were unable to find the back of the net as Auger made multiple key saves to keep the game tied. 

The Patriotes had momentum from their goalie’s strong performance and were able to capitalize early in the third frame on a two-on-one chance. Olivier Garneau lobed it to Nicolas Lariviere who found the back of the net with a perfectly placed shot to make it 2-1 UQTR.

Seemingly beaten and playing with their heads down, the Gee-Gees looked ready to throw in the towel until Brendan Jacome went hard to the net and stabbed multiple times at rebounds with his stick until the puck found a hole and slid into the net, tying the game and sending the soldout Minto Sports Complex into euphoria. 

“It was huge, especially goes we get down early in that third period and we started to feel nervous and that goal calmed us down big time and got us back on our game,”  said Jacome after the game. 

“He’s just one of those hardworking players and most of the time those hardworking guys usually get these opportunities and he was able to put the in the net for two huge goals for us,” said Micheal Poirier about his teammate Jacome.   

Minutes later, the Gee-Gees were buzzing in all directions, riding a wave of momentum gained from tying the game at two. Late in the period, Jacome found the back of the net again this time giving Ottawa a 3-2 lead with about three minutes left in the game. 

“It was such a hard-fought game, a game of bounces,” said Gee-Gees head coach Patrick Grandmaitre. “It’s good to see our guys rewarded after putting in the hard work. Maybe they weren’t the prettiest of goals (but) they’re our type of goals”

The Gee-Gees seemingly sealed the game a minute later when Drover flipped the puck to Domingue who had skated behind the UQTR defence and easily put the puck in the back of the empty Trois-Rivières net.

UQTR came flying back, desperately trying to cut down the deficit for a chance to tie the game. With about 40 seconds left on the board, Simon Lafrance did just that, making it 4-3. 

The Patriotes, however, we’re unable to push the game to overtime and the Gee-Gees found the empty net once again with a second left to take the game 5-3.

Game 3 goes live from Trois-Rivières Sunday at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcasted live on OUA.TV.

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