Toronto,ON- Teams were eliminated, cities weren’t claimed and a champion fell. There was a lot of action in the OUA Eastern Conference playoffs on Saturday night. Grab your morning coffee, pull up 49 and enjoy a little bit of coffee and some hockey as we recap the night that was.
The defending champs are out:
Queen’s eliminated by UQTR
Queen. No, not the school, but the famous rock band had a lyric that was “One by one, only the good die young. Oh, how fitting that is, seeing as the Queen’s Gaels had their hopes of defending last year’s championship die in the first round.
At the hands of the UQTR PAtiorites, the same school that was penalized last year for fielding an ineligible player, the Gaels saw their season come to a shorter than they had hoped for end. Although the way that the game unfolded was so strange not even a casino could have made odds for it.
Queen’s got out to a quick lead, and was up by three before the end of the first period. While it was a lopsided game in the first, the rest of the game made it look like the Gaels already had Game 3 on their mind before they had secured Saturday’s win.
The second period flipped the script of the first, as the Patriotes scored three of their own to send the game into a decisive third period. The third was much more subdued offensively, as neither team wanted to take any chances of a penalty, however, despite being at even strength, the Gaels promptly punished by the Patriotes, who scored in the dying minutes to complete the sweep and book their ticket to the second round of the playoffs. Their opponent has yet to be confirmed but will become the conclusion of Sunday’s games.
Ridgebacks avoid falling the ridge:
Ontario Tech stave off elimination vs Ottawa
It came down to 20 minutes of hockey, but the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks have forced a third game between themselves and the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Gee-Gee’s who finished the regular season as the eastern conferences third seed won the opening game of the series in overtime, giving themselves the opportunity to close out the first round on Saturday.
The scoring started quickly on Saturday for the Ridgebacks, who led 2-0 after less than seven minutes of play. Ottawa did respond before the end of the first, as Merdic Mercier scored his first of two goals on the night.
The Gee-Gees went 3/7 on the powerplay, which included Mercier’s marker as well as the 2-2 goal which was scored less than a minute after the first tally. However, after exchanging a pair of goals each, the game got a lot tighter. The second period had one more goal, also from Mercier, which gave the hosts a 3-3 tie heading into the final frame.
A tight-checking third period finally saw some offence after 14 minutes of play, when the Ridgebacks found the winning goal from Bracebridge’s Sean Ross, who capitalized on a lucky bounce that ended up on his stick.
Ross’s goal was all that was needed, although the Ridgebacks did add an empty-net tally in the dying seconds as they sealed their first OUA Playoff win since 2017.
Game three goes tomorrow night, also hosted by the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Montreal has yet to be claimed:
McGill vs Concordia is headed to a third game
Rivalries are awesome. Do you know what makes them better? When they happen in the playoff. That is exactly what has happened between the McGill men’s hockey team and the Concordia Stingers, who played game two of their series on Saturday night.
Not only are these teams rivals in the same city, but they feature in the 4th vs 5th matchup, the highest in the playoff bracket. The proximity in performance has been on perfect display over the first two games of the series. Game 1 was won 2-1 by McGill, and game two went into overtime, where the Stingers found a way to keep their season alive.
A 5-4 overtime win was the story, but for most of the game, it seemed as though McGill was headed to the second round. The English speaking school scored the first two goals of the game within the first 10 minutes. One cam at even strength and the other on the man advantage, it seemed as though everything was going to be smooth sailing for McGill.
However, that idea was ridiculed by the players on the Stingers, who made sure to get themselves back into the game before the first intermission. Concordia’s top scorer Tyler Hylland got the Stingers on the board and sent them to the locker room within a goal of their cross-town rivals.
No school was able to take a stranglehold on the game, as the high scoring affair rushed it’s way to an extra period. In the extra period, the Stingers’ Anothony Beauchamp scored with just over five minutes remaining to send the series to a game 3.
There is no way to pick who is going to win the final game; both schools are just so similar in every way they play. An interesting factor is that the home team has won each game in the series, if that trend is to continue, it will be McGill who punches their ticket to the second round.
The final game, like all the others, is set for 7:00 on Sunday the 16th of February.