SUDBURY, Ont. -- Frederic Gamelin, a sophomore from St. Polycarpe, Que., scored at 3:25 of sudden-death overtime as the No.3-ranked McGill men's hockey team rallied for a 2-1 come-from-behind playoff-opening triumph over the Laurentian University Voyageurs at Countryside Arena, Wednesday.
The Redmen, who are seeded first in the OUA East playoffs, held a lopsided 45-26 advantage in shots over eigth-seed Laurentian. McGill now leads their OUA East best-of-three quarter-final series 1-0 and can advance to the next round with a victory in Game 2 at McConnell Arena on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. If a rubber match is needed, it is slated for McConnell Arena on Sunday at 7 p.m.
It marked the first career winning tally for Gamelin, a 5-foot-8, 168-pound centre who only scored once during the regular season and now has eight career markers in 75 games overall for McGill. The 22-year-old physical education sophomore converted a pass from defenceman Nathan Chiarlitti, who collected an assist on the play along with Guillaume Gauthier, a freshman forward. Gauthier also scored his first career post-season marker at 19:36 of the opening period to tie the game at 1-1.
Minutes earlier, Caleb Apperson had given the Voyageurs a short-lived 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 14:46 of the first.
"I liked the way we played tonight," said McGill head coach Kelly Nobes, who improved his post-season record to 32-15 since joining the Redmen in 2010-11. "I thought we grinded hard with the puck in the offensive zone and had a lot of good looks and high-grade scoring chances. If we keep grinding like that then good things will happen. Now that this game is done, we have to focus on winning one at home this weekend."
The victory was McGill's sixth consecutive over Laurentian, since their last loss, a 5-2 decision at McConnell Arena on Oct. 18, 2014. The Redmen now own a 17-5-2 lifetime record in 24 meetings overall with Laurentian.
Rookie Louis-Philip Guindon got the start between the pipes and kicked aside 25 of 26 shots to collect the victory in his first playoff game at the collegiate level. The 6-foot-1, 183-pound netminder paid a bit of a price, however, as he was hammered in a goal-mouth collision by a charging Voyageur forward -- there was no penalty on the play -- just seconds before the puck went up ice for the winning goal.
Laurentian goalie Joel Vienneau made 43 saves, a number of them spectacular, in a losing cause.
McGill was 0-for-3 on the power-play, including one at 19:39 of the third period that stretched into overtime. The Voyageurs went 1-for-2 with the man-advantage.
REDMEN RAP: Alternate captains Nathan Chiarlitti and Etienne Boutet were finally back in the lineup after missing five McGill games while helping Canada win bronze at the FISU Winter Games in Kazakhstan... Scratched from the lineup, however, was scoring leader Mathieu Pompei, who was injured in the bronze medal game against Russia... The road-weary Redmen booked a one-day charter flight to Sudbury for the mid-week playoff opener, in order to save school days lost and also costs for the bus, meals, hotel and ice rentals for a few practices. They had made the 1,200-kilometre bus-trip to northern Ontario last Thursday to close out the regular season with games in North Bay and Sudbury and were hoping to stay in Sudbury if Laurentian agreed to start the playoffs a day or two earlier. But when they could not come to an agreement, the Redmen returned home late Sunday afternoon and booked a charter, leaving from Montreal on Wednesday morning and returning home immediately after the game. It's been a long and winding road for the Redmen since the new year as they have had a very challenging road schedule, traveling 6,100 kilometres in 46 days.
Source: McGill Redmen