Written by Stuart Miller-Davis
Photo by Marc Lafleur
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Carleton Ravens are on their way to Lethbridge, AB for the national championships after beating the Western Mustangs 3-0 for Bronze on the back of goaltender Francois Brassard (Gatineau, QC).
“Our goaltender was awesome,” Ravens head coach Shaun Van Allen said following the game. “He kept us in the game. Made some amazing saves and played the puck really well.”
Brassard said it’s hard work that is taking this team back to the nationals after having been there last in 2016.
“It’s been a long time coming,” the veteran goaltender said. “We worked hard to get where we are. Had some tough luck in the playoffs the last couple seasons but worked really hard to get where we are.”
The Ravens grabbed the lead midway through the first period when defenceman Andrew Jarvis (Morrisburg, ON) fed Dalen Hedges (Ottawa, ON) with a lead pass into the Mustangs zone. The fourth year forward made a nifty spin move around a Mustang defender before beating goaltender Luke Peresinni with a backhand over his glove.
Despite being outshot 18 to 10 the Ravens managed to escape the first period with the one goal advantage.
In the middle of the second frame, the Ravens extended their lead to two when Hedges picked the pocket of Mustangs defenceman Adam Sinclair and took a quick wrist shot that Peresinni handled. But the rebound came right out to Ravens forward Jared Steege (Cobden, ON) who found room over the Western goaltender’s blocker.
Carleton was able to control more of the play in the second mustering 13 shots to Western’s 12 in the period.
In the third, with time winding down the Mustangs went with the net empty to try and get back into it, but Jake Smith made them pay with a wrist shot that went square into the middle of the net for his first career OUA playoff goal.
“Dalen Hedges really stepped up,” Van Allen said. “He’s had a strong playoffs. He had a tough year. That’s why there’s two seasons, the regular season and playoffs.”
The Ravens closed the shot gap with another 10 shots in the third period but Western finished with the edge 41-31 total in the game.
“I don’t think they had a lot of scoring chances,” the Ravens coach said about being outshot but being able to win. “You look at the Queen’s series and we put a lot of pucks on net and lost. The goaltenders these days are so good that if you don’t get traffic they are capable of having nights like that.”
Next up for the Ravens will be Nationals for the first time since 2016 when they lost in the first round in a marathon overtime game to the Saskatchewan Huskies.
Van Allen said it’s too early to start comparing this team to that one.
“It’s so fresh right now,” he said. “You don’t go to nationals without good teams. There probably are quite a few similarities but for right now you want the guys to enjoy this one tonight.”
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
#33 Francois Brassard–Goalie– 4th year – Gatineau, QC