Written by Mike Gould
Photo by Marc Lafleur
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Carleton Ravens women’s hockey team travelled to the Minto Sports Complex on Wednesday night and suffered a 4-1 setback at the hands of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Claire Merrick scored the only goal for the visitors mid-way through the second period of the game, which was the Ravens’ third exhibition contest of the season. With just one win in the preseason (along with two losses), Ravens coach Pierre Alain said he sees a silver lining to Merrick’s goal.
“Today, we scored another goal on the powerplay, that’s very positive,” said Alain. “Our special-teams units [have a plus-one goal differential] in three games, so this is something really important.”
Merrick’s powerplay marker came amidst a flurry of chances for Carleton in the second period. The improvement in play served as a much-needed response to a lethargic first-period showing by the Ravens.
The Gee-Gees found life early in the first period when first-year forward Kate Maclean capitalized on a powerplay chance. Maclean beat Ravens goaltender Alexandra Lehmann with a quick rebound tally to make it a 1-0 uOttawa lead.
Ariane Aubin soon doubled the Gee-Gees’ lead. Receiving a nice pass on the rush, Aubin skated down the right side and placed a quick shot over the shoulder of Lehmann. The insurance goal came at the 12:57 mark of the first period.
Both goals came after what Alain called a “very good” first five minutes of the game for his team. However, he admitted that his team “lost confidence” after the Gee-Gees opened the scoring.
Aubin scored again early in the second period to make it 3-0. But soon after, Merrick scored her goal to bring the Ravens back to within two. Circling around the offensive zone on a powerplay, Merrick found open ice in the slot and took a shot which beat Gee-Gees goaltender Alexa Gibson.
“We’ve been practicing that play in practice,” said Merrick. “The defense goes down [into the slot] to attract some coverage, and then I’ll just walk around the net, and shoot.”
Alain said he was happy with his team’s attempts to spark a comeback after Merrick’s goal.
“We played pretty well in the second and third [periods], I think we just couldn’t bury it.” said Alain. “As soon as we were down three goals, they just started [pushing]. In the second, we were very, very good.”
Early in the third period, though, the Gee-Gees put a dagger into a prospective Ravens comeback effort. After just missing on a couple of close chances, first-year forward Alice Fillion found the puck, once again, in the slot. Her shot hit the crossbar before it deflected into the net.
The resulting 4-1 score lasted until the end of the game. Coach Alain made it very clear what his team needs to work on before its next game, a Saturday exhibition tune-up against the Collège Lionel-Groulx Nordics.
“Offense,” said Alain, without hesitation. “And we have to be confident. As soon as we played with confidence today, we were right there.”
Ravens Player of the Game
Claire Merrick – Forward – 5th year