OTTAWA, ON — The Ravens men's hockey team claimed game one of their OUA East quarter-final series Wednesday night as a three-goal, third-period surge led them past a relentless UQTR Patriotes group en route to a 5-2 victory.
"I think in the first two periods, both teams had times where they controlled the play," says Ravens head coach Marty Johnston. "But as the game went on, we capitalized on our chances, limited theirs, and, at the end of the day, Francois Brassard stood tall when he needed to."
Brassard (Gatineau, QC), who made 26 saves in his OUA playoff debut, locked down a Ravens' backend that finished the night perfect against the Patriotes' six power play opportunities. Meanwhile, at the other end, the Ravens' offence targeted Patriotes' netminder Sebastien Auger 29 times with five different players making their mark on the scoreboard.
The Ravens would notch their first tally just over three minutes into the first period as an offensive-zone bank pass from Brett Gustavsen (Scarborough, ON) met Evan de Haan (Ottawa, ON) at the left-side of the Patriotes' blueline. Inching forward, de Haan then fired a glove-side point shot that would sneak past a screening Travis Douglas (Osgoode, ON) and through Auger for the game's opening goal.
Shortly after, the Ravens stretched their lead to two as Nathan Todd (Kemptville, ON) shook off a hit from Charles-David Beaudoin before sniping a short-side wrist shot over the left shoulder of Auger.
The 2-0 lead wouldn't last long, however, as a low-slot takeaway midway through the first period, along with a blistering short-side wrist shot in the dying minutes of the second, led to two Patriotes' goals from veteran forwards Guillaume Asselin and Carl-Antoine Delisle.
After tying the game at two goals apiece, the Patriotes then looked to keep their momentum rolling. But, with less than a minute to go in the second period, an interference penalty taken by Asselin would allow the Ravens to begin the third on the man-advantage.
This opening five-on-four would mark the start of a three-goal onslaught as the Ravens then rallied to separate themselves from the pursuant Patriotes. A power-play one-timer from Michael McNamee (Perth, ON), along with a David Weckworth (Kanata, ON) dangle that led to a net-front backhand and a blistering bar-down slap shot from Adam Chapman (Barrie, ON), thrusted the home team to a 5-2 lead.
Evidently frustrated, the Patriotes began to take exception with a Ravens group that was not willing to back down.
"Both teams have a lot of character, a lot of pride, and wanted to send a message," says Johnston as the latter half of the third period added to a combined total of 48 penalty minutes. "It's what good teams do. We're not too concerned with the discipline at the end. It's just guys venting frustration."
Despite additional efforts from the Ravens' offence, including a rink-long wrist shot from Brassard that hit the post of an empty Patriotes' net, the 5-2 score would stand as the final.
With game one under their belts, both teams will gear up for their second meeting Saturday night at UQTR's Le Colisee.
"We'll have to continue trying to use the full bench and get everyone involved like we did tonight," explains Johnston. "We know we have a long, long way to go and that game one doesn't win a series."
Source: Carleton Ravens