Photo: Kyle Darbyson.
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Gee-Gees remain hot at home, but continue to struggle on the road

The University of Ottawa women’s hockey team had their hands full this past weekend, taking on two of the top-ranked teams in the Réseau de sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ).

While the Gee-Gees picked up a thrilling victory against the Montréal Carabins on Friday, Nov. 4, their three-game winning streak was cut short by a motivated McGill Martlets team on Sunday.

The weekend series started out promising enough—with their fans cheering them on at Minto Sports Complex on Friday the Gees quickly shifted into a familiar pattern of dishing out aggressive offence and hard-hitting defence.

Like previous games this season, much of the Gees’ offence came courtesy of all-star forward Mélodie Bouchard, who finished the night with two goals, including the game winner, and one assist.

“You’ve got to give credit to Mélodie Bouchard again,” said head coach Yanick Evola. “She’s playing hard, she’s scoring the big goals for us, and we’re really happy for her. But everybody’s chipping in right now … it’s a team effort.”

While the U of O eventually came away with the victory, most of the game was a strictly back-and-forth affair, with the Gees and Carabins trading goals and bumps for 60 minutes straight.

“It was definitely a very physical game all around,” said defender Bryanna Neuwald, who put the Gees on the scoreboard midway through the first period. “(The Carabins saw) us going into the corner and by the end of the game they didn’t want to go into the corners against us.”

With the game tied 3–3 in the dying seconds of the third, it looked like the two teams were going to have to duke it out in overtime. But that’s when Bouchard decided to play the hero, taking the puck from centre ice and scoring with 15 seconds left on the clock, bringing the final score to 4–3 for the Gees.

Unfortunately, Ottawa couldn’t translate this momentum into a winning effort against McGill on Sunday in Montreal.

After two periods, the game remained tied at 1–1, thanks in large part to phenomenal goaltending from both teams.

However, this all changed when McGill forward Jade Downie scored 25 seconds into the third period. From there, the Gees simply couldn’t find their footing, and allowed the Martlets to score two more unanswered goals to bring the final score to 4–1.

“I don’t think we played good enough in the third to deserve to get two points,” said Evola, who believes that his team’s passing and puck control wasn’t up to snuff. “We’ve just got to regroup together and have a good week of practice and get ready for next Monday’s game against Carleton.”

While the Gees remain tied for the top spot in the RSEQ, they will be looking to redeem themselves with a double header against their bitter rivals at Carleton in the coming weeks.

The first game in this series takes place on the Ravens’ turf on Monday, Nov. 14  at 7 p.m., while the Gees’ next home game is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 20  at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.