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Martlets maul Ravens to open RSEQ season

Another game, another blowout victory for the McGill Martlet ice hockey team. The most consistently successful varsity team at McGill is back to its winning ways following a disappointing finish to last year’s season.

McGill (2-0) thoroughly outplayed Carleton (1-3) in every facet of the game in the contest, winning 5-0. Pick a statistic and it further confirms the ease with which the Martlets were able to rack up goals. The shot total was an astounding 52-9. The penalty battle was won convincingly by a margin of 9-4.

The team was also coming off a 5-2 loss against Harvard University and used a strong week of practice to re-group and prepare for the regular season. Head Coach Peter Smith attributes the turnaround to the squad’s work ethic.

“This team practices hard […] under any circumstance and this past week was no different,” Smith explained. “Our defensive zone coverage wasn’t great against Harvard; we worked on that this week and it showed.”

This was most evident in the shot total, but McGill also employed a very aggressive forecheck that suffocated the Ravens. Carleton struggled to get the puck out of their own zone in the first and third period, the two stanzas in which McGill found the net. The second period, however, showed that although the team is a force to be reckoned with, they still have work to do if they want to reclaim lost glory. The Ravens turned the tables and were able to force the Martlets into uncharacteristic mistakes. When McGill did get shots on net, they were generally poorly placed as the opposing goaltender, Eri Kiribuchi, rarely had to move to stop the puck. Smith attributed the lapse to a deviation from the game plan.

“Our signature is that we want to play with tempo on the ice and a sense of structure,” Smith said. “We wanted to make sure we keep our shifts short [after the second and] we did a much better job moving the puck in the offensive zone in the third period.”

(Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune)
(Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune)

Sophomore forward Gabrielle Davidson was named the first star of the game following a two goal night. She recoded her first goal near the end of the period. Only seconds before the goal line scramble that led to her goal, Davidson sent a wrist shot to the right of a wide open net.  Her second goal came on an assist from forward Katia Clement-Heydra who went end to end with the puck past multiple opposing players before calmly laying it off for Davidson to finish the job.

Clement-Hydra also notched a goal of her own, while Stefanie Pohlod and Adrienne Crampton rounded out the scoring for the night. Pohlod’s goal also came from skating as she shielded the puck from Carleton defencemen on a spin move before finding the back of the net. Davidson believes that the matchup was the perfect opportunity to start the season off on the right note.

“As a team we wanted to send a message […] that we’re going to be a threat the rest of the season and also start strong so we can build on top of it,” said Davidson.

Davidson is also having to adjust to a new role this season following the sabbatical of the reigning CIS Player-of-the-Year Melodie Daoust, who is currently playing with the Canadian national team as it prepares for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“I think if I step up, other people will be willing to step up, and if everyone steps up we can make up for not having [Daoust],” said Davidson.

McGill was able to cement its status as the best team in Montreal —and in the country— as they defeated Montreal 5-3. The no. 1 ranking in the CIS should soon follow as the squad looks to once again mount an undefeated regular season and return to its winning ways at the national championships. The Martlets travel to the nation’s capital next weekend for games against Ottawa and Carleton on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.

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