After a start-stop OUA season, the Carleton Ravens finally return to the ice tonight as the puck drops on the OUA's Queen's Cup Playoffs. The Ravens will face a familiar foe in the East / Far East quarterfinals as they travel to Trois-Rivieres to take on the Patriotes.
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Having finished the regular season 4-4-3, the Ravens have a 0.500 win percentage good for 7th in the conference. The Patriotes finished the season with a 10-3-2 record finishing second for the second consecutive season. Last year, both teams found themselves upset in the second round, with the Ravens falling to the Stingers while the Patriotes lost a nail bitter against the uOttawa Gee-Gees.
The series marks the first playoff meeting between the bitter rivals since the Ravens dispatched the Patriotes in a two-game sweep in 2019. The victory in 2019 marked the first time the Ravens had knocked off the Patriotes in the playoffs after a string of heart breaking losses and would help propel the team to the OUA bronze medal and the program's third birth at the U SPORTS University Cup.
Today, it's a very different Ravens team entering the playoffs in transition. With strong leadership and a good crop of rookies, the Ravens, who lost a number of players to professional hockey during the COVID-19 shutdown will look to shock the Patriotes. Mark Grametbauer will backstop the Ravens, entering the playoffs with a .909 save percentage, the second-year goaltender out of Halifax should feel well-rested, having only appeared in two of the Ravens' three games since November 27.
In the other end, the Ravens will need to find an answer for Alexis Gravel, the Patriotes goaltender has been fantastic this season recording eight wins in eleven games while sporting a sparkling .924 save percentage. Offensively, UQTR are led by Simon Lafrance, the second-year forward has scored 20 points in 15 games including 2 game winning goals. In five playoff games in 2020, Lafrance had 4 points including three goals.
For the Ravens, all eyes will be on veteran Aaron Boyd and rookie Oliver Castleman. Boyd's 13 points in 11 games almost mirror Castleman's totals as the two have been lethal throughout the season, combining for eight powerplay points in 11 games. The veteran Boyd has also proved a knack for scoring clutch goals as he marked two of the Ravens four game-winners while only recording 6 minutes in penalties. Among rookies, Castleman's 1.18 points per game is 6th in the OUA as the former Niagara IceDogs forward has shown great consistency scoring in five straight games to start the season before going on another three-game streak while only being kept off the scoresheet three times.
Previous Meetings: 8
Playoff Series Record: 1-8
Last Series Win: 2019 (2-0)
Largest Victory: 5-1 Feb. 25, 2012 (Game 2 at the Ice House)
Largest Defeat: 8-1 Feb. 22, 2012 (Game 1 at the Colisee)
Longest Game: March 3, 2013 - 4OT (114:17 minutes) Patriotes 2 - Ravens 1 at Le Colisee. UQTR goalie Marc-Antoine Gelinas stopped Carleton's Joey West on a penalty shot at 3:33 of the third period. The four-overtime game took 114 minutes and 17 seconds to play over a span of four hours and 26 minutes. It is believed to be the longest OT in OUA men's hockey history.