MONTREAL - It was a tight-checking, low-scoring affair on Friday night in Montreal that saw the Ravens fall 3-0 at the hands of the McGill Martlets.
The Ravens had a strong opening 40 minutes of play but struggled to generate offensive opportunities as the game went on. McGill’s lethal offence took charge in the third, separating the score. “The goal was to make the final four, be in the playoffs and have a chance to go to nationals,'' Ravens head coach Pierre Alain said postgame.
In their first game in 75 days, the Ravens came out strong, keeping up with the best team in the RSEQ in a back and forth, high-energy first period. The top line of Jenna Morais, Hayden Serniuk, both from Burlington, Ont. and Emily Smythe (Whitby, Ont.) had a few quality opportunities throughout the opening frame but couldn’t find the back of the net. Alain commented on the three of them returning to the lineup after missing time in the first half of the season. “It’s huge,” Alain said. “Jenna is one of our veteran players, Emily and Hayden have so much speed so it's huge to have them back.” The Ravens did a terrific job at keeping pucks to the outside in the defensive zone. The effort was definitely there from the Ravens in the opening frame, and that strong effort got them to the dressing room scoreless.
It was more of the same in the early goings of the second, with the Ravens coming out strong. There was one play, however, where the Ravens couldn't keep the Martlets attack away from the front of their net as on a scramble play Jamie Kastellic found a loose puck in a crowd of bodies at the front of the goal making it 1-0 McGill. “It's just a scramble in front and they found the puck and we didn’t take the stick,” Alain said. “We didn’t push the puck into the corners, they found it and scored.” Nothing came of some strong Ravens chances, as the middle frame finished with the Martlets on top 1-0. “We were confident, '' Alain said about the approach coming into the game. “We worked on the forecheck during the break, we worked on some offensive zone stuff and today in the first and second we created those scoring chances on the forecheck. We just couldn’t bury it.”
The Ravens couldn't keep pace with McGill in the third, and the Martlets separated the score. Leading scorer Jade Downie-Landry potted two goals in to give the Martlets the three-goal advantage. It was a very difficult third for the Ravens, as Carleton didn’t register a third-period shot before the last minute of the game. Goaltender Marie-Eve Cote (Quebec City, Que.) stood strong once again and the Ravens put up a valiant effort on defence but could not muster anything offensively. McGill held on to take the game 3-0. “When we push the pace, we have to push the pace twice (as hard) against their top players,” Alain said. “It seems like we couldn’t in the third.”
The loss, Carleton’s ninth on the season, means the team is out of contention for a top-four playoff position. They will look to finish off their regular season strong with a two-game homestand next weekend.