Maclaine Chadwick | Fulcrum Staff
Photos by Justin Labelle
Gee-Gees fall to Carabins, end playoff season
THE U OF O women’s hockey team has ended their season in the first round of playoffs, losing two consecutive games to the Université de Montréal Carabins in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-finals.
In the first game of the series, forward Carling Chown gave the Gee-Gees the lead on the scoreboard, scoring a goal after only two minutes of play. The Carabins made a three-goal comeback, and the Gees were unable to return any goals until late in the third period when rookie Maude Laramee brought the score to 3-2.
Despite the home ice advantage for the second game of the series, the Gees suffered another close loss to the Carabins, falling 2-1 in their last game of the season. A goal scored less than 10 minutes into the first period by veteran forward Lauren Coxon, during their first power play, gave the home team a strong start, but they were unable to maintain the lead. The Carabins fought back, scoring before the end of the first period and again shortly into the second, maintaining their one-goal lead for the remainder of the game.
“We played a very strong and talented team, the third-ranked team in the country, and I think we put out a great effort,” said head coach Yanick Evola in a press release sent to the Fulcrum.
The series marked the final games of fifth-year players Fannie Desforges and Alicia Blomberg.
Women’s playoff hockey will continue for the Carabins, who are working towards the CIS championship tournament March 7 and 8 in Toronto.
Gee-Gees torch Varsity Blues, eliminated by Ravens
THE GEE-GEES MEN’S hockey team has been eliminated from the playoff race by crosstown rivals the Carleton Ravens, who won the third and final game of their semi-final playoff series with a blowout score of 6-0 on February 24.
After succeeding in the closely matched first round of playoffs against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues—during which two of three games played into double overtime—the Gee-Gees were pitted against the CIS ninth-place Ravens in the OUA semi-finals.
“Toronto came out strong; they brought the best out in us I think, and they made us work as long as we possibly could,” said team captain Luc Olivier Blain following his overtime, series-winning goal. “I think we deserved the win today; we worked hard and it’s a team victory.”
After losing to the Ravens 3-1 in the first of a three-game series, the Gee-Gees fought back to win 4-3 on home ice. It was a slow start to the second game of the series, with no goals scored in the first period, but the Gee-Gees were able to recover from a 3-1 lead built by Carleton. Gee-Gees goaltender Russell Abbott, who earned third star of the game, saved the following 33 shots as his teammates Jean-Sébastien Fournier, Guillaume Donovan, Alexandre Touchette, and Jean-Bernard Voyer each scored in the second half of the game.
The deciding game of the season, however, saw a 6-0 shutout in favour of the Ravens, eliminating the Gee-Gees from the playoff race.
“Carleton is one of the best defensive teams in the league, but we failed with our powerplay and creating chances,” said head coach Real Paiement in a press release sent to the Fulcrum. “I’m giving them credit, but on the other hand, we had enough skill to score goals in the regular season—but in the playoffs you need more than skill.”
Now that their season is over, the next step for the men’s hockey team is to begin building for next year.
“If you want to step it up a notch and compete for the top of the division, then we’re going to have to find players that fill a hole on the team where we’re lacking,” said Paiement.
Gee-Gees prevail over Gaels
AFTER A WELL-DESERVED bye in the first round of playoffs, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s basketball team dominated the Queen’s University Gaels 72-44 in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East semi-final game on Feb. 23.
Strong defensive play from the Gees in the second quarter allowed Queen’s to earn only eight points, giving the home team the chance to pull ahead into a strong 16-point lead.
“We made sure to pick them up quickly and tried to get them going in the direction that we wanted to go and not in the direction that they wanted to go,” said head coach Andy Sparks. “The guard that replaced Kellie [Ring] did a great job putting pressure on their guards. We played with pretty good intensity so I think it was a solid overall result with us playing the game plan we had in mind, and [the plan] working.”
Veteran forward Jenna Gilbert led the scoreboard with 18 points, followed by 13 points from forward Alyska Lukan and 12 from forward Ariane Lachance-Scantland. Kayte Chase and Kim Cupid also played impressively on guard with starting guard Ring out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
Queen’s leading scorer, third-year Liz Boag, was reduced to only two points in the game, while second-year Jenny Wright led the Gaels with 16 points.
The Gees will advance to the final game against their crosstown rivals, the Carleton University Ravens, on March 2 at 6 p.m. in Montpetit Hall.
“I think our girls play well and I think we will be able to compete with them,” said Sparks. “We just have to play with the necessary composure at key times in the game, and make sure that we play 40 minutes of solid basketball—I think it will be a great game.”
The Gees are going into the Carleton contest ranked in ninth place in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) standings, with the Ravens sitting in seventh place. A win against the Ravens would mean travelling to Regina, Sask. for the CIS national championships.
“We only have to get one more win,” said Sparks, about the team’s chances of attending the national championships. “We have a chance of getting there, then when you get there you never know what can happen.”
Gee-Gees sink Rams in quarter-finals
IN A CLOSELY matched contest against the visiting University of Ryerson Rams, the U of O men’s basketball team fought into the final seconds of the game for their 74-70 win on Feb. 23.
The game was kept neck-and-neck by both nationally ranked teams, and was decided when second-year Mike L’Africain sunk a three-point shot with one minute of play remaining in the game.
“When it comes down to two teams like that, the last couple minutes [decide the game],” said head coach James Derouin. “Our execution down the final stretch was the difference in that game. ”
Third-year forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue recorded his career-best game, contributing an impressive 31 points to the scoreboard. He was followed by fifth-year Warren Ward who scored 19 points.
“We are playing our best basketball right now,” said Derouin. “From a strategic standpoint, we’re just keeping our routine the same. We’ve got to keep focusing on the things we need to work on, hope for the best, and keep the status quo.”
Following last weekend’s exciting triple-overtime match against the Carleton Ravens, during which the Gees lost 111-107, Saturday night’s win secured the Gees a spot in the OUA Final Four Championship in Toronto on March 1 and 2. The Gees will compete for the Wilson Cup with the Carleton Ravens, the University of Windsor Lancers, and the Lakehead University Thunderwolves—first taking on the Lancers.
“[Windsor] beat us in November, very early in the season—only our second game,” explained Derouin. “We feel like we have come a long way since November—we are excited to get another chance because we feel like we’ve really improved since that game. In terms of our strategy … just dealing with their full-court pressure and their length, and not turning the ball over is really going to be the key for us.”