Strong start carries Carabins to win over Carleton

Ottawa, ON –  “It’s me, Hi, I’m the problem; it’s me.” Anti-Hero (Taylor Swift)

If the early days of the 2022-2023 RSEQ season have shown one thing, the Carleton Ravens have a few problems. With an offence that sits tied for last with four goals in three games, and a defence allowing 37 shots a game, to put it at its kindest, it has been a difficult start for the Ravens.

With a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Carabins on Taylor Swift night at the Ice House, the Ravens showed some fight that they had yet to demonstrate this year. Just as well, though, they got shown a clear example of problems on both sides of the puck that are dogging them early this season. 

Now, they have to find a way to fix them or risk being left with Sweet Nothing in the win column for the second season in a row.

The Montreal Carabins entered the Ice House following a 4-2 win in their opening night matchup against Concordia on Oct. 21, which saw them erase a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the final six minutes. For the Ravens it was the opposite, their last match, also on Oct. 21, saw them give up a quick 3-0 deficit to the Ottawa Gee-Gees before eventually falling 4-1.

On Friday, it was clear the Carabins were still rolling and subsequently caught the Ravens flat-footed almost directly from puck drop. 

The swarming Montreal offence paid off quickly as just under three minutes in; a puck bounced to Breanne Dondo at the top of the slot, who fired it through a massive crowd to give the Carabins a 1-0 lead. 

Barely five minutes later, an impressive individual effort saw Kaleigh Quennec fire a shot wide but have it bounce back over the net behind Carleton goalie Frederike Lavoie-Leroux and arrive for Quennec to bat it in to make it 2-0 for Montreal.

After a slow start against uOttawa saw the Ravens fall down 2-0 less than eight minutes in on their way to a 4-1 loss at Minto Sports Complex on Oct. 21, head coach Stacey Colarossi emphasized how the team put effort into practice this week on starting on time.

“We’ve been working this week on coming out and starting the game on time and trying to set our tone and getting pucks in behind their defence,” Colarossi said.

To their credit, the Ravens bounced back in a way that wasn’t present a week ago against Ottawa. 

Two minutes after Quennec made it 2-0, a Carleton two-on-two rush ended with an Aoife Mahaffy shot that snuck through the pads of Carabins keeper Maude Desroches, just enough for Sydney Berta to tap it in to bring the game to 2-1. 

Audrey-Ann Veillette picked up another for the Carabins before Annika Scurfield buried a wrap-around late in the period for her first career RSEQ goal to close the period at 3-2 for the Carabins. 

The Ravens were still outshot 23-11 in the period, but they looked to have life for the first time on the year. That is until a second period saw just three shots for Carleton and a late goal from Audrey Gervais that gave Montreal a 4-2 lead.

“I thought the second period was our weakest period, which seems to be our achilles heel a little bit,” Colarossi said.

The defence for the Ravens held up as Lavoie-Leroux made 11 saves in the third period, but the offence simply could not get going, generating just four shots, and when the buzzer sounded, Montreal had the 4-2 win and the 2-0-0 record while Carleton fell to 0-3-0.

It’s harsh to say, but by the Ravens’ standards of the last few years, a 4-2 loss to Montreal might very well be the equivalent of a win. Carleton hit two goals in a game just twice a season ago, and at least for the first period, were right there with the Carabins. 

Head Coach Colarossi sees it similarly,

“We got two goals tonight. We haven’t done that a lot in the past, so I think hopefully, from a confidence standpoint, they can start to build off that.”

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