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U of O men’s hockey team loses back-to-back games to Lakehead


A STRONG FAN turnout at the Sports Complex greeted the University of Ottawa men’s hockey team as the squad played their first game at home Oct. 14. The scheduled back-to-back games against the Lakehead Thunderwolves (2-2) saw the Gees give the match a valiant effort, but  they fell short 4-2 to the visiting Thunderwolves on Oct. 14 and then again 3-1 on Oct. 15.


“We played well enough to win,” said Gees head coach Réal Paiement after the home opener. “The goalie played well, but defensively … we were caught off guard all the time.”


The game began with back and forth plays by both teams—the Gees slowly building momentum as they got a feel for the ice. Lakehead forward Matt Caria opened the scoring with 30 seconds left in the first period by slapping a drop pass from the left circle, beating Gees first-year goaltender Russel Abbott on the glove side.


The U of O returned refreshed for the second period, and were rewarded with a goal by first-year forward Alexandre Touchette, who originally missed the shot but managed to complete the strike on the rebound from the backboards.
“We had some good scoring chances by working low,” said Paiement. “The first 10 minutes of the second period we were really strong, but their goalie played well.”


The Gee-Gees’ energy dissipated after an interference penalty by second-year defender David Foucher with nine minutes left in the period. An attempted shot by second-year defender Dominic Jalbert was blocked by a Lakehead forward, leading to another goal for the Thunderwolves, bringing the tally to 2-1.


A defensive turnover early in the third period gave Lakehead a 3-1 lead. Despite the Thunderwolves’ tight offence, the Garnet and Grey managed to get a backhanded shot in net by second-year forward Matt White. Although the team was able to make an offensive comeback, their defence wasn’t strong enough to block the Thunderwolves score off a breakaway, making the final score of 4-2.


“The thing I’m taking from this experience is we have to be better defensively. We have to be tough to play against, which we weren’t today, and [Lakehead] took advantage of it,” said Paiement.


Paiement explained Lakehead was able to clog up the scoring lanes and that they didn’t give the Gees the opportunity to take their shots. This is something he hopes the team can observe and replicate.


“I think we should learn from them,” he said. “Do it on our side and clog up the middle so that [the] first line of theirs—that scored the four goals­­—won’t go on the scoreboard.”


The Gee-Gees were given an opportunity to do just that on Oct. 15. They returned with vengeance in their second game against the Thunderwolves, but were only able to get one goal in the net by Jalbert, losing the game 3-1. Paiement was unhappy with both games, saying the Gees need to step it up and work defensively as well as offensively.


“It was an ugly game,” he said. “Our offence came from scrums around the net. [Lakehead] did a good job of closing the play, of taking space away. So that makes  for a choppy game—not too much flow to the game because of the way they played defensively.”


The Gees (2-3) will host Carleton Ravens (2-2) on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sports Complex.

—Victor Yan