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Back-to-back overtime losses for the men’s hockey team

Spencer Van Dyk | Fulcrum Staff

THE UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA Gee-Gees men’s hockey team suffered two losses this weekend against the York University Lions (4-3) on Saturday, Nov. 3, and then against the University of Guelph Gryphons (4-3) on Sunday, Nov. 4. This brings the team to three consecutive losses after the October 28 loss against the Université du Quebec á Trois-Rivières (3-2).

The Gee-Gees managed to play a strong and steady game against the Lions throughout the first two periods, going into third with a 3-1 lead. Goals were scored by forward Nicolas Larocque-Marcoux with one minute remaining in the first period, forward Luc Olivier Blaine just two minutes into the second period, and Larocque-Marcoux again with seven minutes remaining in the second period. York came back in the final period, scoring twice, putting the game at a 3-3 tie, and then winning in overtime.

“We made the wrong mistakes at the wrong time,” said Gee-Gees head coach Réal Paiement. “We outplayed them for 40 minutes, and we had the scoring advantages, the scoring chances advantages, and the advantages in everything, but that’s the game.  It’s 60 minutes, and unfortunately we didn’t make many mistakes, but we made them at the wrong time, and that team played a good road game. They defended, they defended, they waited, they waited. If we don’t make mistakes, they don’t win, but we made mistakes, and they jumped on it.”

Coach Paiement explained that after the loss against Trois-Rivières, the Gee-Gees focused on their power plays and on their hustle.

“Today, from the get-go, we got at it,” he said. “We knew that if we could get the puck down low and move our feet, we could get a chance, and so that’s what we did. During the week, we worked on our power play, which was pretty good today when we had our opportunities. We didn’t score all the time, but we had our chances. We worked on our cycling down low to get advantage on them, and that’s where a lot of our chances came from.”

Gees right winger Guillaume Donovan, who was named player of the week, echoed Paiement’s sentiment, saying the team faltered in maintaining their momentum from the beginning of the game.

“We worked hard, but in the third we were a little lazy,” said Donovan. “They came back and scored two goals, so that’s a tough loss for us.”

The game went into a scoreless five-minute overtime, but York won in the shootout.

Both Paiement and Donovan were hopeful going into Sunday’s game, however, with Paiement saying that the team really just needed to focus on their decision-making rather than their actual play.  Sunday, however, resulted in another Gee-Gee loss against the Guelph Gryphons.

Once again, the Gee-Gees went into overtime with a 3-3 tie, but ended up succumbing to defeat. Paiement attributed this loss to poor decision-making.

“We outplayed the other team most of the time, but we need to be smart at the right time, I think is the bottom line,” said Paiement. We’ve got to keep playing the way we are, but be smart at the right time. We’re not giving away a lot of scoring chances, but they’re breakaways. They get five score chances a game, but they’re breakaways, it’s pretty tough for our goalie to make every save.”

The Gryphons were leading 1-0 at the end of the first period, and 3-1 at the end of the second period, after a goal by Gee-Gee Guillaume Donovan with three minutes remaining in the second period. The Gee-Gees managed to pick it up in the third period and go into overtime with a 3-3 tie after goals from forward Mathieu Ouellette, who scored just two minutes into the third period, and Larocque-Marcoux, who scored with six minutes remaining in the game. However, the Gryphons capitalized on a power play in overtime when Donovan was out on a high-sticking penalty.

“Overtime was kind of a fluky play,” said defenseman Patrick Burns. “We obviously got a penalty. I think with four on three there’s a lot of room out there, and bounces happen, but it’s really our own fault for letting it get to that point and for waiting until the third period to wake up. We’ve got to try to pick it up from the start next week, and hopefully things go better.”

Burns also said that injuries came into play this weekend, specifically on Sunday.

“It’s tough considering we only had about 12 hours of rest coming in from last night,” he said, “but with all the injuries, we’ve been trying to step up.”

Paiement agreed that injuries affected the game, but they do not explain the loss.

“We started the game with 18 players instead of 20,” he explained. “So we’re really strapped in terms of injuries, especially at the forward position, and yesterday we lost [Darren] Miller on defense. Today we had eight forwards and eight defensemen, but that’s not a reason or an excuse, because at both games we could have gotten the points. But we are hurting on injuries.”

The Gee-Gees are now 4-1-3 on the season, and third place in the Ontario University Athletics East division. They will play at Waterloo this coming weekend on November 9, and then at Western on November 10.