TORONTO, ON – The first weekend of February is upon us, and OUA hockey is reaching the final, nerve-racking moments of the regular season.
With some teams having just two games to go, it’s crunch time for many to lock up playoff spots, while others look for playoff seeding. At the same time, some teams play out the string, with seniors potentially taking on the last competitive games of their hockey careers.
So much on offer on the rinks in Ontario and Quebec this weekend – let’s get into it.
Carleton’s OUA Playoff Push
The Carleton Ravens started this season strong, with Parker Aucoin seemingly scoring simply as the Ravens picked up a pair of wins in the opening two games. Yet, those following two October losses to RMC and Queen’s are returning to haunt the Ravens.
With just three games to go in the regular season, the Ravens sit fifth in the OUA East, just three points safe of seventh place Queen’s, who captured a must-win game against RMC in the Carr-Harris Cup on Thursday.
For Carleton, they turn their attention to Montreal matchups with the McGill Redbirds and Concordia Stingers, where they’ll look to upset the division’s second and third seeds with critical playoff points on the line.
McGill has been a consistent challenger this season and has gotten a lift since offensive blueliner Scott Walford returned from FISU Games Team Canada duties. With that, Friday won’t be simple for the Ravens. Meanwhile, Concordia has been strong all season with players, such as Tyler Hylland and Isiah Campbell leading the way.
Carleton has averaged 3.9 goals per game throughout this season, yet they haven’t been playing at such a high-scoring level all the time, with InStat, an in-depth statistical tracking service, putting them at 3.4 goals per game. Effectively, the Ravens are lucky to be where they are.
Leaning on Aucoin’s 30 points and Nick McCarry’s 27, the Ravens head to Montreal for games against McGill and Concordia, hoping to keep their playoff hopes alive.
York faces a tough test in playoff push
Much like the Carleton Ravens in the OUA East, the York Lions are facing pressure in the OUA West, and it doesn’t get easy for them this weekend. Siting sixth, right on the brink of the OUA Playoff picture, the Lions are dancing on the edge with the Laurier Golden Hawks but will have to get points off Lakehead and Guelph this weekend.,
Lakehad being a team that has taken the division by storm, sitting second in the division while already eliminated Guelph, always poses a strong test.
The Lions got off to a bit of a rough start to the season, with some more senior players initially left off the roster for younger talent before being added back midway through the first half of the year. Recently, however, they’ve been playing entertaining and hard-working hockey, pushing them well into the playoff conversation.
Michael Horon and Ben Evanish lead the team scoring-wise with 17 points and 15 points apiece, yet York has seen offensive contributions from all aspects of their roster, playing with some evident cohesion in the second half.
The big test this weekend will fall on the shoulders of goaltenders Carter Serhyenko and Cole Ceci, who have both been excellent in split time in the net this season and will likely be called on to give their team a fighting chance, particularly against high-flying Lakehead.