On Sept. 17, the McGill women’s hockey team (0–2) played their first game of the semester. Matched up against the Queen’s University Golden Gaels (2–0), the game was marked with aggressive plays on both sides that left viewers wishing they could watch them on replay. After a long fight, the Martlets were defeated in overtime, losing 4-3.
The team saw a lot of turnover from the previous year, with many fresh faces and a new team captain, master’s student and forward Christiana Colizza. Despite the ultimate loss, third-year forward Quynn Campbell was proud of all the players, new and returning.
“It was so awesome to watch four of our first-years play their first games as Martlets today,” Campbell told The McGill Tribune. “They all played great. Heads were held high after today’s game.”
The Martlets opened the first with strong defensive tactics. The Gaels made immediate attempts on goal, but were blocked left and right by second-year goalie Sophie Lajeunesse.
On the offensive side, the first minutes of the period were slower, the puck often being passed to open ice. The slow start did nothing to prevent the Martlets from opening the scoring a mere four minutes into the game. Easily missed if one wasn’t paying attention, Campbell, assisted by third-year defender Suraiya Suleman, made a lightning-fast shot from just beside the goal, whipping the puck into the back of the net.
The start of the second period saw penalties on both sides, leaving the Gaels and the Martlets down one player each. Still, McGill pushed through the four-on-four matchup, and the next goal of the game went to the Martlets, scored by defender Lydia MacLellan and assisted by fellow defender Jaime Kastelic.
The 2-0 lead is the most dangerous one in hockey. For the Gaels, it served as a wake-up call and they scored two back-to-back goals with eight minutes remaining, bringing the score up to a tie. A frantic energy permeated the end of the period, with both teams spreading themselves thin as they sped around the ice chasing the puck back and forth.
“There were a couple of minutes [when] we let the other team take the pace over us,” centre and assistant captain Marika Labrecque told the Tribune. “We have to work on that.”
The final period brought more strife for the Martlets when the Gaels scored on an excellent rebound shot, edging them above their opponents 3-2.
But this didn’t hinder the spirit of the players as the game was far from over. With only five minutes remaining, Labrecque scored.
Hope was injected back into the veins of every McGillian in the crowd as the game moved into overtime. Hit with a penalty right off the bat, Queen’s managed to survive with a shorthanded team, letting no goals in. Alas, in the last minutes of overtime, the Gaels scored, ending the game with a 4-3 score for the away team.
Despite the loss, Campbell knows her team fought tooth and nail, and that they have the whole season ahead to grow together.
“We fought hard for all 60 minutes,” Campbell said. “[We] have shaken off all our first-game-of-the-season nerves.”
The Martlets played their second game against the Gaels on Sept. 18 in Kingston. McGill fell once again to their opponents, ending the game with a 4-2 loss.
Moment of the game: Team centre Marika Labrecque scored an unbelievable third goal, ending the Martlets’ short dry spell, tying the scores, and ensuring the team had one more go at a win in overtime.
Quotable: “We’re taking away a lot of positives from it, but also have a lot to learn moving forward. We’re excited for the upcoming season and can’t wait to hit the ground running at our season opener!” – Second-year forward Mika Chang
Stat corner: The game saw Queen’s receive twice as many penalties as McGill (six to three).