Gees find confidence in shutout win against McGill
The University of Ottawa women’s hockey team ended the 2018 portion of the season with a far from ideal record. With only two wins and eight losses, the Gee-Gees went into the break at the bottom of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Quebec.
Unfortunately, the first game of the new year didn’t turn out so bright for the Gee-Gees. In the opposition’s home rink, they came out with a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Carabins on Jan. 11.
Despite the poor outcome, the game did not bring down the morale for U of O head coach Yanick Evola.
“On Friday we played really well, just a couple mistakes. They had some strong offensive players, they capitalized,” Evola said.
Coming off the Jan. 11 loss, the Gee-Gees were back home Sunday Jan. 13 for a 2 p.m. start against the visiting McGill Martlets.
“Everybody needs to be focusing on our roles, everyone knows what we have to do to win,” Evola said.
Gee-Gees goaltender Maude Lévesque-Ryan stood out between the pipes, stopping all 36 shots to earn the shutout and first star of the game.
In the first period, Lévesque-Ryan stopped two great scoring chances from McGill, first a two-on-one, and shortly after, a sweet move past a U of O defender for a breakaway.
“This game gave me some more confidence,” Lévesque-Ryan said.
With 4:39 left in the first, it was Mélodie Bouchard who opened up the scoring with assists from Laurence Morrisette and Marimé Godbout-Parent.
With a clear give-and-go from the corner and a bit of a scramble in front of the net, Bouchard was able to backhand the puck past the goalie and put the U of O up 1-0.
Both teams came out aggressive for the second period, trading penalties for the majority of it. But even with back-to-back power-plays, neither side was able to put up a goal, leaving the score at 1-0.
The Martlets started the third period on the penalty kill, but this turned out to be another fruitless power-play for the Gee-Gees.
Still, the Gees continued to attack, looking to extend their single goal lead over the Martlets and put the game away.
In attempt to stop a Marlets player from getting a breakaway, Christine Deaudelin visited the penalty box for roughing. The closest McGill would get to a goal was a bounce off the crossbar in the power-play.
“The third period was awesome, we didn’t give up scoring chances,” Lévesque-Ryan said.
The Gees finally capitalized on a power-play chance, with a clear pass in front of the crease by Bouchard to Mélissa Gregoire who tipped it in to make it 2–0.
Keeping strong until the final buzzer, the Gee-Gees pulled off the shutout win, rising to a record of 3-9.
“This win means that all the players are focusing on the process and focusing on the little details that are going to make us better and better week after week,” Evola said. “We need to keep playing hard, keep doing our jobs.”
Lévesque-Ryan echoed her coach’s sentiment.
“One win is a good thing to start with but we still have a lot of things to improve on. It’s nice to know we can do it but we need to go out and get some more,” Lévesque-Ryan added.
The Gee-Gees will be home on Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. where they’ll be looking for another win over McGill. Grab tickets here.