Hockey, Sports

Redbirds hockey triumphs against York Lions in thrilling 5-3 victory

The Redbirds (6–3–1) faced off against the York Lions (3–7–0) on Nov. 11 for the first time in six years, securing a decisive 5-3 victory in an intense and physical game. 

The game opened with York dominating the puck, challenging McGill before they could mount their first offensive rush. Play went back and forth, punctuated by defender Thomas Belzile’s shot on goal, sparking a fierce scrum in front of the Lions’ net. When the Lions applied pressure, defenders Scott Walford and Alexandre Blanchard were quick to intercept and send the puck up the ice to centre William Rouleau. Three minutes later, York scored the first goal of the game. 

McGill intensified its offensive pressure, leading forward Caiden Daley to receive a minor penalty for playing with a broken stick. Despite having a power play, York could not break through McGill’s defence. Goalie Fabio Iacobo briefly left the goal unattended before another scrum ensued, this time involving team captain Taylor Ford. York continued to battle before right wing Charles-Antoine Dumont scored McGill’s first goal with 3:33 remaining in the period. The Redbirds’ pressure would not wane until the end of the period for another goal. 

The second period saw play go end-to-end until York eventually scoring their second goal with 11:07 minutes remaining. After a long struggle to get the puck in the net, centre Mikisiw Awashish scored his first goal of the season, equalizing the score at 2-2. 

“I think just trying to find ways to get inside of them,” Ford said in an interview with The Tribune, reflecting on the game’s challenges. “They had some big bodies back on defense. I’ll give the forwards credit. They were trying hard to get inside and I think that paid off a little bit toward the middle of the game and we ended up scoring.” 

The final period saw heightened tensions, with both teams applying relentless pressure. After forward Patrick Larkin received a penalty just under four minutes in, Brandon Frattaroli intercepted a pass and scored a goal, unassisted, on a breakaway. 

With four minutes remaining in the game, McGill put a lot of pressure and had several shots before forward Eric Uba scored another goal with 3:54 remaining, bringing the score to 4-2. After a time out, McGill had a few shots on goal, but York were able to defend them despite pulling their goalie. York returned the pressure and scored a goal with two minutes remaining to make it 4-3. 

York attempted to get one last rush in the final minute of play before centre Xavier Fortin scored the final goal on an empty net with an assist from defender Maxime Blanchard. With seven seconds remaining, both teams erupted into a physical battle of pushing and shoving, resulting in two York players being penalized for roughing. The game ended 5-3 on a McGill power play. 

After the victory, Frattaroli reflected on the team’s performance following their 11-5 loss to the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes on Nov. 11. 

“You know, it wasn’t a pretty game,” Frattroli said. “It was a tough loss against [UQTR] that we wanted to come back and we wanted to win really badly. It was a must win [….] I’m just happy. Simple game today that the boys figured out and got the W, so that’s all that matters.”

McGill’s next challenge is an away game at Waterloo on Nov. 17, where they will face off against the Laurier Golden Hawks (3–72).

Moment of the game: During York’s power play, Dumont’s stick broke, leaving him defenseless on the ice. Dumont proceeded to get down on the ice and hold the puck until his team mates arrived to help relieve the pressure. 

Quotable: “There’s no easy games in this league. So knowing that, despite the difference in the rankings in the two teams, [we] knew that was gonna be a tough game. And it’s really good to see us bounce back after our game on Wednesday [against UQTR] [….] we’re a team that has success when we play with our structure and systems.”

–Head Coach, David Urquhart on how he felt going into the game and after the first period.

Stat corner: With seven seconds remaining in the game, three players received penalties for roughing: Two on York’s team, and one for McGill.

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