Story by Dan Robertson

Photo by Trevor Swann

The Carleton Ravens men’s hockey team split another pair of back-to-back games this weekend against the Concordia Stingers and the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes.

The first game on Nov. 25 against the Stingers was an important one: with Carleton’s position in the standings, a loss could drop the Ravens lower.

“I think we played some of the best hockey we have all year,” Ravens head coach Marty Johnston said. “We were very strong on defence and special teams . . .  all areas were good.”

The Ravens defence were able to shut down the top 10 offence of the Stingers throughout the game, limiting the opposing team to only 16 shots. The game stayed scoreless for most of the first as both teams tried to crack the defence of the other.

An interference penalty gave Carleton the man advantage late in the first period. The Ravens power play unit took full advantage; with only a few seconds left in the man advantage Josh Burnside took a point shot that went wide. The shot was able to bounce off the board, where Corey Durocher fired a quick slapshot past Stingers goaltender Philippe Cadorette, his fourth goal in two games.

This first goal shifted the momentum of the game in the Ravens favour. In the dying minutes of the first period, Ravens captain Michael McNamee passed to Brett Welychka, who was able to beat Cadorette with a backhand shot.

The Ravens’  2-0 lead would remain throughout the second period as a number of penalties for both teams stalled any offensive push.

The penalties continued into the third for the Stingers, and Ravens forward Adam Chapman was able to pick up a rebound and put it past the Stingers’ goaltender.

Later in the third, a loose puck in front of the Stingers net found its way to Travis Douglas’ stick, and he was able to extend the Ravens’ lead to 4-0.

The win gave Carleton goaltender François Brassard his first shutout of his U Sports career, while also putting the Ravens into a tie for fifth in the Ontario University Athletics East division.

The next day, the team was back on the ice to play the UQTR Patriotes, who were on a four-game winning streak.

“Effort-wise we were very good, everyone competed hard against a good team and we battled right to the end,” Johnston said after the game.

The Ravens dominated in the first period, putting up a total of 19 shots against the Patriotes, forcing Patriotes goaltender Sebastian Auger to fend off the offensive barrage.

The Patriotes were able to stop the Carleton attack, and once on the power play were able to score the opening goal.

A few minutes later, the Ravens were finally able to capitalize on their offensive dominance, after a slapshot from Sean Bamford at the point was redirected by Josh Burnside and put through Auger’s five-hole.

The Ravens continued to push, as a pair of UQTR penalties led to a 5-on-3 for the Ravens. The Ravens power play did well, but the UQTR penalty killers were able to stop any scoring chance.

Later in the second period, a neutral zone turnover resulted in a UQTR offensive rush that allowed UQTR forward Tommy Giroux to put a snapshot past Brassard.

The final goal of the game came from a breakaway, as UQTR forward Mathieu Lemay was able to come in all alone and beat Brassard glove-side to put his team up 3-1.

The final minutes of the game had Carleton trying to bring the game back within reach, but after a hit to the head and subsequent unsportsmanlike penalty against Ravens forward Brett Gustavsen, the game fell out of reach.

Both goalies played solid games, with Auger having to stop 38 shots from a persistent Carleton offence, and Brassard shutting down the scoring chances that UQTR were able to get.

“They’ve got a good goalie and a good team but a lot of those nights those pucks should go in,” Johnston said in reference to the multiple scoring chances that the Ravens had.

The Ravens go on the road for their last two games of 2016, against the York Lions and the Brock Badgers, and will look to improve their standing heading into the New Year.