Ottawa, ON – For the first time in a long time, as winter marches on and the RSEQ Women’s Hockey season hits its final stretch, there’s genuine hope in the Ice House.
Yes, the Carleton Ravens played in the RSEQ “consolation round” against the Bishop’s Gaiters a season ago, which they lost but in terms of actual playoff hockey, the clock has to be turned back ten years to 2012-2013 for the last time Carleton had a real chance at the RSEQ title.
A 3-0 win over McGill on Friday night though gave Carleton their seventh win on the season, tied for their most since that 2012-2013 year and with six games left in their year, the Ravens find themselves four points out of the final playoff spot in the RSEQ, meaning that for the first time in a long time, the Ravens are in an actual playoff hunt.
If 2022-2023 has been a new era for the Ravens, it’s been a nightmare for the McGill Martlets.
Last year’s RSEQ finalist, and four years removed from four national medals in six years between 2014 and 2019, the McGill Martlets started slow, kept losing and saw their season collapse.
It took until a 2-0 win over the Ravens on Jan 6 for McGill to notch their first win on the year after 13 straight losses. Despite everything, though, and especially after being the team to snap their losing streak, Carleton knew they couldn’t look past the struggling Martlets.
“They were at Nationals last year.” Ravens head coach Stacey Colarossi said. “There’s not a weak team in this league.”
Despite a heavy forecheck from the Martlets to open the night, eight saves from Ravens goalie Marie-Eve Cote kept the score 0-0 after one period.
“She’s [Cote] the backbone,” Colarossi said. “Without her in that net, it’s a very different game.”
Fifty-eight seconds into the second period Aoife Mahaffy wired one glove side past Juliette Roy to make it 1-0 for the Ravens before eight minutes later, a scramble in front of the McGill net saw the puck squeak to Hayden Serniuk, who tucked it into the open net for the 2-0 lead.
After a nightmare 5-0 loss to the Concordia Stingers on Wednesday night in which everything seemed to go wrong, the bounces, particularly the one that gave Serniuk an open net, seemed to go Carleton’s way on Friday.
“Obviously, Concordia’s an exceptional team, but when you work a little harder, which our team worked a little harder together today, you start getting bounces; it’s funny how that works,” Colarossi said.
Cote made nine more stops in the third period, good for 29 on the night before Lanie Guimond tucked in an empty net goal with 2:45 to play that made it 3-0 where it stood as a final.
The win moved Carleton to 7-9-3 on the season and, thanks to the Bishop’s Gaiter’s 6-2 loss to Montreal, moved them to just four points back of Bishop’s for the final RSEQ playoff spot.
For a Carleton Ravens team that has not been a threat in the conference for a decade now, to be this deep into January and still have a genuine chance at a playoff spot is truly uncharted territory.
“We’re now managing that playoff race which most of these players in this room have never been in their university careers,” Colarossi said.
At the same time, uncharted territory brings new challenges for a team whose mission has been to find growth in their process all year.
“A huge word we’re throwing around is that we need to compete, and that’s different from working hard,” Colarossi said.
“Everybody’s working hard at this level; competing is when you stand on the line, and you look at the person next to you, and you know that you’re not going to allow them to win a one-on-one battle even if that means you have to take your skate off and throw it at them.”
While there hopefully won’t be any skate throwing, with just a few weeks left in the season, it’s now up to the Ravens to prove they can compete when it matters most and be a team worth believing in.
One thought on “Are the Carleton Ravens ready to be a team worth believing in?”