Photo: Remi Yuan.
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Ridgebacks spoil Gees’ first home regular season game since 2014

Following five solid preseason performances, the crowd at Minto Sports Complex was optimistic for the Gee-Gees men’s hockey team’s long-awaited home opener.

However, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks spoiled the Gees’ Oct. 7 home opener by a 3–0 margin.

The Gees were coming off a hard-fought loss against the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League, and the team was perhaps too emotional playing their first regular season home game since Feb. 14, 2014.

The game was poised to have a lot of intensity with the Garnet and Grey eager to finally have their preparation count in league standings.

The Ridgebacks headed to the power-play four minutes into the game, but the Gees and goaltender Anthony Brodeur banded together and fought through the early barrage.

UOIT showcased some quality passing to draw first blood 13 minutes into the first period on the power-play.

The Gees were put on their heels yet again in the waning minutes of the first period, yet they weathered the storm and the period ended 1–0.

Right winger Antoine Pouliot threw a huge hit at centre ice to generate some momentum for the Gees. However, the Ridgebacks jumped on the U of O’s poor defensive zone play, widening their lead to 2–0 with four minutes to play in the second period.

Continually battling penalties, the Gee-Gees eventually managed to generate a two on one break, and right winger Kevin Domingue made a good move to elude the defenseman. But the away goaltender made a great save to keep the score at 2–0.

With less than 17 minutes to go, the Gees headed to the power-play. They came within inches of a goal less than a minute into the man advantage, but were turned away yet again.

UOIT officially put the game out of reach, extending their lead to 3–0 at the 14:41 mark on an odd-man rush.

The Gees got better as the game went on, but bad nerves left them unable to generate momentum, as UOIT continuously generated more offence.

The Ridgebacks goalie was solid from the opening faceoff, looking calm and poised all game while stopping flurries of shots from the Gees.

“We were a little surprised by their intensity early on as they came out hard,” said centre Mathieu Newcomb. “We got better as the game went on and we’ll make sure that teams don’t surprise us in the future.”

Unfortunately, Newcomb’s hopes didn’t come true the following night, as the Gees suffered another loss to the Queen’s Gaels 4–2 on the road.

They were able to settle much more against the Gaels, scoring two goals and making the match much more competitive than in their home opener.

The team’s next home game at Minto Sports Complex is on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Following that match-up, the Gees will take on the Carleton Ravens in the first annual Colonel By Classic, which will take place at the TD Place arena on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.