Photos: Parker Townes.
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The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees are right back in the swing of things in U Sports play. The teams rocking the Garnet and Grey welcomed back students with a successful first weekend. A big win for the Men’s basketball team against nationally 10th-ranked Ryerson University was the highest profile win amongst all Gee-Gees teams, but the U of O had to dispose of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues beforehand. However, coach Andy Sparks’ Women’s basketball team also had a perfect record.

Men’s basketball

The Gee-Gees finally received their favourite Christmas present, the return of Brody Maracle, who has been injured since Nov. 10. He torched the score sheet with 21 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

Despite the large difference in placement for the Gees and the Varsity Blues in the standings, the Blues played hard out of the gate and the Gee-Gees were only up by one at the end of the first quarter. The Garnet and Grey started to pull away at half, but the U of T was still sticking around as they trailed 36-28. The Blues were fueled by their three-point shooting in the first half and the Gees struggled in that statistic. Maracle pounded the paint and had 15 points in the first 20.

The Gees pulled away in the third as they doubled up the Varsity Blues 24-12. The second half was highlighted by some great dunks by Chase Tynes, and Coach James Derouin used his bench, checking in 11 players. Toronto came back and outscored the Gees in the final quarter, but that was too little too late as the Gees won by a comfortable score of 83-65.

Moving onto the game of the weekend, the Gees used Maracle again immensely as he played 37 minutes, leading the team in buckets with eight field goals and 18 points. The start of this game looked like it could have been an ugly one for the Gees as they started by trailing by 12 after the first quarter and by 14 at half.

Coach James Derouin must have given a Mike Krzyzewski type of speech at half as his team came out rejuvenated. The Gees only allowed one three-pointer all second half after allowing six in the first 20. Sean Stoqua showed out in the second, scoring 10 points and five assists, which led him to a double double. The Gee-Gees’ defensive prowess in the third quarter, combined with an offensive explosion, ultimately gave them the win as they outscored their opponents 31-10 in the quarter.

Women’s basketball

The Women’s team also took to the hardwood against the Varsity Blues to start their second half of the season. Friday, Jan. 5 was Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu night at Montpetit hall—not only did she score a point per minute played (29 points in 29 minutes), she came only a rebound shy of a double-double.

The Gees ended the first quarter up 17-11 and eventually led 31-16 at the end of 20. Toronto won the third quarter by the score of 18-12, but that would be the only quarter that they would do so, as the Gees cruised to a 61-44 win on Lefebvre-Okankwu’s amazing night. The Gee-Gees were powered by rookies as Maia Timmons was second on the team in points with 13.

The Gee-Gees were in for a tough matchup against nationally 10th-ranked Ryerson, but just like the Men’s game the U of O came out on top in a tight affair. Young players were again the fuel to the fire for the Gees as Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu had 10 points, Maia Timmons had 11, and Amélie Hachey led the way with 14.

The Gees came out of the gate strong with a slight two-point lead after the first quarter, but Ryerson showed why they are nationally ranked and brought the game to the Gees in the second quarter, outscoring them 18-9.

The second half was a big for Amélie Hachey as she paced the Gee-Gees with 11 points. The Gees as a team had an offensive burst outscoring their opponents 40-28 in the second half, which gave them a tight 66-61 win. The two wins now brings their record to 7-5.

Men’s hockey

The University of Ottawa Men’s hockey team might have been suffering from a holiday break hangover as they dropped both tilts in Montréal.

They started their double-header against the nationally fifth-ranked McGill Redmen. Unfortunately, the Gees could not build on their last victory against the same opponents, but despite being heavily outshot throughout the game, they continued to stick around.

McGill opened the scoring midway through the first frame, but Patrick White quickly responded four minutes later. The Gees led going into the third thanks to Médric Mercier’s power-play marker at 5:57.

The Redmen tied the score with just over 14 minutes left to play and continued to outshoot the Gees, with a final total of 43-23. The Gees saw their team morale drop when McGill scored with just over four minutes remaining to take the lead 3-2 and ultimately win the game.

The Gee-Gees did not get a break in their second half of their weekend double-header as they faced the Concordia Stingers who were and still are ranked eighth in the country.

Another goaltending battle ended with the Gees falling in a close game. The first period was filled with penalties as the Gees took five infractions, giving Concordia ample power-play time, but they couldn’t convert.

The rest of the game was penalty free, but the second period saw both teams play more conservatively, with Concordia slightly outshooting the Garnet and Grey 7-4. The score stayed level at 0-0 going into the final frame.

Despite outshooting the Stingers in the period and in the game, the Gees dropped this game in the third period as their hearts were broken for the second straight night as the Stinger converted with just less than four minutes to play. Despite two stellar games from Anthony Brodeur, the Gees dropped both their tilts in Québec.

Women’s hockey

The Women’s hockey team took on two Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ).

The first matchup was against their cross-town rivals, the Carleton Ravens.

The game took place on Jan. 5, and it was Taylor McGaughey’s night as she tallied

two goals 11 seconds apart in the first period, which would be the only scoring of the night. The Ravens had their best opportunity to score in the third period as they had an extended 5-on-3 in the final period. Carleton’s coach took a timeout to try to inspire his team, but the Ravens were unable to beat the Gee-Gees goaltender, Maude Levesque-Ryan, who was stellar throughout, especially in the final minutes of the third.

After that final 5-on-3 penalty kill, the Gee-Gees sit at an unimaginable 97.2 penalty kill rate, the best in the country. The Gees outshot their opponents 28 to 20 and recorded their seventh win of the year.

The McGill Martlets proved to be a tougher task, ousting the Garnet

and Grey 2-1. This was a tough loss for the Gees as the Martlets sit behind them in RSEQ play and it would have been great to get a win to help their cause at dethroning l’Université de Montréal for first place in the conference.

The U of O was badly outshot in the first period 14-3, but managed to come out of the first 20 with only a one-goal deficit. Despite out-shooting the Martlets in the second period 13-8, the Gees came out of the period trailing 2-0. Mélodie Bouchard scored her seventh of the season in the final frame with 6:08 left to play, but that was too little too late as the Martlets wound up taking a valuable two points away from the Gees.