OSHAWA, Ont. – The UOIT men's hockey team managed to shut down the Concordia Stingers top-ranked offence as they picked up a 4-0 win on Wednesday night to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three OUA eastern conference quarter-final series.
The Ridgebacks will look to advance to the second round for the second straight year as the teams travel to Montreal for game two on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. If necessary, game three will take place on Saturday in Montreal. Both games will be streamed on OUA.tv.
"Tonight was a must-win," said UOIT head coach Curtis Hodgins. "We didn't want to go there down a game. We'll continue to try and execute our game plan and look to put them on their heels in their home rink and see what we can do."
Brendan O'Neill (Ilderton, Ont.) recorded the first shutout in Ridgeback postseason history making 35 saves including 17 in the second period in the victory. This marks O'Neill's second straight shutout as he had a 26 save performance in a 2-0 victory over UQTR in their regular season finale.
"Neiller played well," said Hodgins. "That's two in a row for him. He played well and made the saves when he had to. I also thought the guys played well in front of him and as we executed our game plan tonight."
Mitch Bennett (Fenelon Falls, Ont.) put the Ridgebacks up 1-0 at 11:47 of the first period as the assistant captain batted the puck out of midair much to the surprise of Concordia goaltender Philippe Cadorette. The Stingers appealed to the referee that it was a high-stick but they ruled it was below the crossbar. Jeff Braithwaite (Ennismore, Ont.) and Malik Jonshon (Montreal, Que.) recorded assists.
"We wanted to get off to a good start. Concordia is a team that plays with a lot of momentum so if they got on the board first we knew it was going to be a long night for us. We talked about getting off to a good start and every team is better after scoring the first goal."
Late in the period, freshman Kyle Locke (Aurora, Ont.) would double-up the Ridgeback lead as he showed patience from the point and wristed one through a screen from Erik Pedersen (Airdrie, Alta.). Connor Jarvis (Port Union, Ont.) and Cam Yuill (Wellington, Ont.) would get assists.
Source: UOIT Ridgebacks