Rookies shine in 2-1 loss to Université de Montréal
The University of Ottawa women’s hockey team hosted the defending Reseau de Sport Etudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) champions Université de Montréal Carabins for their home opener on Sunday afternoon.
Entering into the action on Sunday, both teams found themselves on polar opposite ends of the standings, with Montreal undefeated and in second place and the Gee-Gees in fourth place after a rough 5-4 loss to first-place Concordia University last Sunday.
Both teams got off to good starts on Sunday, trading multiple scoring chances early. Fans had the pleasure of seeing a feisty Gee-Gees team that battled for every loose puck. It was a definite change from the last few seasons where the team struggled to compete against strong teams such as Montreal.
Montreal drew first blood, scoring with about seven minutes left in the first period when Carabins captain Catherine Dubois beat a Gee-Gees defence player in a one on one and shot through Gee-Gees rookie goaltender Aurelie Dubuc’s wickets to give the girls in blue a 1-0 lead.
Late in the period the Gees went on a four-minute powerplay, manufacturing some good scoring chance and wreaking havoc in front of Montreal goaltender Maude Trevisan’s crease, but they were unable to capitalize.
At the end of the powerplay with under 20 seconds left in the first period, the Gee-Gees misplayed the puck at the point, giving Montreal a breakaway, but Dubuc stood tall and made a nice save.
“She was unreal, she kept us in the game the whole game and we let her down unfortunately with the two goals,” said teammate Jade Todd after the game.
In the second period, the Gee-Gees kept grinding away and outworking the Carabins until fifth-year player Melodie Bouchard found rookie Alice Fillion on the backdoor. She managed to beat Trevisan, tying the game with about 12 minutes left in the second period.
But Montreal grabbed back the lead late in the second frame on a snipe by defence Kelly-Ann Nadeau from the blue line, beating Dubuc top-shelf.
In the third, the Gee-Gees failed to capitalize once again on an early powerplay, a recurring problem in this game with the Carabins’ lack of discipline.
“We have to work on the powerplay, our penalty kill has been perfect so far this season but our powerplay could have been a game-changer tonight,” said head coach Yanick Evola after the game.
Ottawa fought hard once again in the third, outshooting Montreal, but they were incapable of putting the puck past Trevisan and the Carabins held on to their 2-1 lead to take the game.
After the game, Evola had this to say about his team’s performance
“With a young group like we have, we are really impressed as a coaching staff because there working very hard and it really fun to be around,” said Evola. “Of course, tonight the final score doesn’t indicate the game, we had way more scoring chances than they did, we just have to minimize our little mistakes and we’ve got to find a way to score more goals.”
With 12 rookies in the lineup, some of the young Gee-Gees players were very excited and overwhelmed to be playing in front of their home crowd for the first time.
“I was super excited to have such a big crowd come out, it really brought out everyone’s energy to see everyone come out and support us,” said rookie Kate MacLean. “It definitely motivated us to woked harder,” added rookie Alexe Clavelle
The U of O women’s hockey team will be back in action on Friday against the McGill Martlets in Montreal. Yanick Evola and the troops will be back at home on Nov. 8 for another exciting matchup with the Carabins.
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Editor’s Note (29/10/19, 10:42 a.m.): A previous version of this article misspelt Kate MacLean’s last name.