Ottawa, ON – Six days ago, the Carleton Ravens took the long trip up to North Bay to take on the Nipissing Lakers.
After dropping a 3-2 game to the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks on Friday, Nov. 11, for their second straight overtime loss, it was likely not an enjoyable ride. If it wasn’t, though, that didn’t show on the scoreboard as the Ravens controlled the Lakers in a 4-0 win and a 27-save Mark Grametbauer shutout.
Fast forward six days, the Ravens found themselves in the Ice House against the Queen’s Gaels, and shades of Saturday’s victory carried themselves over.
“I think it started probably Saturday in North Bay; there was a lot more buy-in.” Ravens head coach Shaun Van Allen said. “We were above the puck, we played a lot better defensively, and we didn’t give up any, and I think we carried that into this game.”
With an OUA-leading 13 goals from Parker AuCoin, this season has seen this Raven’s side be able to score their way out of most of their problems. In their 5-1 victory over Queen’s on Friday night though, it was their two-way game that helped keep Carleton dominate and move to five straight games without a regulation loss at home (4-0-1).
There are some nights where the result feels locked in after 20 minutes and unfortunately for the Gaels this was one of those nights.
Queen’s starting goalie Luke Richardson was off from when the puck dropped, but the Gaels’ defence did him no favours. Halfway through the period, a two-on-one saw Brogan O’Brien find Keiran Craig, who converted the backhand to make it 1-0 for Carleton, and then the offensive onslaught began.
Ninety seconds later, Oliver Castleman found himself with no one covering him on the Carleton powerplay and stealthily tipped in an Aaron Boyd wrister to make it 2-0. The Ravens only cashed in once but saw seven powerplay opportunities as Queen’s slowly lost their composure throughout the night.
“We got under their skin, and we capitalized when we needed to.” Will Collins said.
Not even two minutes later, Parker Aucoin walked in off the left circle and wristed it over Richardson to push it to 3-0 barely 15 minutes in.
Madoka Suzuki capped it off by executing a full-on blow-by of the Queen’s defender to make it 4-0 after the first period. Brock Gibson then waved the white flag, pulled Richardson for Anthony Popovich and by all accounts, the game looked over.
That was finalized early in the second period, thanks to someone new for the Ravens. Midway through the second
Will Collins, a freshman in his first season with the Ravens after coming from the Rockland Nationals, found himself alone in front of Anthony Popovich and slammed it in for his first OUA goal.
“Scotty Mackenzie made a great turn, and then Will really read the play well, waited in the weeds and then got a nice past from Scott, and he finished.” Van Allen said.
It was a special moment for the Ottawa native, who had family in attendance as he got to tear the monkey off his back in celebration, but he was predictably sheepish about it post-game.
“I gotta give credit to all the guys on the ice that helped me out. It was a team effort; we dominated that shift and then to get a lucky bounce, it was a good one to end on.”Collins said.
The Ravens looked to be headed into the third up 5-0, but a missed pass from Grametbauer accidentally ended up on the stick of Alex Roberts, who made it 5-1 after two periods.
The third period kept the score even but saw the Gaels lose their composure. Halfway through the frame, defender Owen Lalonde threw a vicious hit to the head that saw him get a 10-minute misconduct. Then with 45 seconds left, Lucas Peric took an unnecessary cross-checking penalty, his third of the game (and the period) that saw him get ejected for three stick infractions.
In the end, though, the Ravens got the relatively straightforward win to move to 5-2-2 and solidify their hold on sixth in the OUA East.
The weekend isn’t done for either Carleton or Queen’s. With the Ottawa Gee-Gees hosting RMC across town on Friday (and incredibly only winning 5-4 despite outshooting RMC 54-22), the Gaels and Paladins switch arenas on Saturday.
Queen’s now heads to uOttawa while the RMC Paladins look to take down the Ravens again after dropping them 3-2 in a shootout in their first meeting of the season. Both teams on back-to-backs often do not make for the prettiest hockey, so coach Van Allen has a simple goal for Saturday night.
“It’s been two pretty good games back-to-back, and we’re looking to make it a third one.”