OTTAWA - The Carleton men's hockey team scored quickly in the first people and treated a standing-room-only crowd to a 5-1 win over the Queen's Gaels on Friday night.
In arguably the Ravens' best performance of the season four first-period goals in just 6:22 were the difference as Carleton avenged an early season road loss.
"It was a really good start, and that first goal really set the tone for us," summarized Ravens' head coach Shaun Van Allan. "I think it started Saturday in North Bay, where there was a lot more buy-in, we played a lot more above the puck and there was more buy-in defensively. I think we carried that into this game."
Against a strong and defensive Gaels team, the Ravens used their speed to make the difference early as Kieran Craig (Hawkesbury, Ont.) scored his fourth of the season, beating Luke Richardson to open the scoring.
Oliver Castleman would redirect a puck past Richardson on the powerplay just 1:26 later for what would be the game-winner and the Ravens had found their momentum. Less than two minutes later, the OUA's leading scorer, Parker AuCoin, walked in off the half wall and beat Richardson for his thirteenth of the year to extend the lead to three.
Before the period was over Will Collins sprung Madoka Suzuki loose and the second-year forward made no mistake making a nifty move before tucking the puck around Richardson. Four goals in the first would be enough for the Ravens and Gaels coach Brett Gibson who would replace Richardson with Anthony Popovich the rest of the way.
The barrage of offense to open the game was a welcome treat to the BirdGang who attend the annual Country Night in droves, selling out the Ice House seating area well ahead of puck drop.
Will Collins scored his first OUA goal in the second period after an impressive shift that saw the Ravens hem Queen's deep in their zone for a lengthy period of time. With the Ravens pressing, Scott McKenzie set up in a quiet zone in below the goal line and found Collins breaking through traffic for the Ravens fifth and final tally.
Asked about the play of Collins, coach Van Allan was happy to share praise. "He's come in and been a real pleasant surprise." The goal capped off what Van Allan considered to be the team's best shift of the season, something he's hoping sets the tone for tomorrow night when the Ravens return to action against the RMC Paladins.
After seats for tonight's game sold out more than thirty minutes before puck drop you'll want to buy yours early tomorrow!