Trois-Rivières, QC – Flipping the script from their game one loss, the UQTR Patriotes came flying out of the gates in game two to hand the Ravens men's hockey team a 4-2 loss Saturday night at Le Colisee.
"UQTR came out in the first and really dictated the play and put us back on our heels," explains Ravens head coach Marty Johnston as the Patriotes came out firing with 16 first-period shots. "They were the better team for the first two periods. We rebounded well, but it was too little too late."
A 3-0 Patriotes' lead, amassed over the course of the first two periods, proved too much to overcome for the Ravens despite a strong third-period showing that put the former Queen's Cup champions on their heels.
Following puck drop, two Patriotes players linked up for a pair of goals within the opening eight minutes. Buzzing around the perimeter of the Ravens' zone, Mathieu Lemay acted as the catalyst to both of Guillaume Asselin's mid-slot scoring chances. The first of the former CIS MVP's back-to-back wrist-shot tallies was rifled past the reacting blocker of Francois Brassard (Gatineau, QC), while the second saw an open net spur from a cluster of bodies crashing the Ravens' crease.
Entering the second, the Ravens came out of the gates gunning at the Patriotes' zone. But despite quality, in-tight chances on netminder Sebastien Auger, the pursuant Ravens couldn't find the back of the net.
Instead, it was the Patriotes, once again, who added to the Le Colisee scoreboard as, five minutes into the period, UQTR's power play unit had their number called. A right-point pass from Charles-David Beaudoin found Marc-Olivier Mimar at the bottom of the Ravens' left-side faceoff circle. Making no mistake, Mimar ripped the puck past an out-of-position Brassard to give his team a 3-0 lead.
With the start of the third period came another surge from the Ravens offence, this time, however, finding a better result. Less than three minutes in, a point shot from Travis Douglas (Osgoode, ON) tipped off a net-front Hayden Hulton (Kingston, ON) and past a screened Auger.
"When you're down three goals, your back's up against the wall," admits Johnston. "The fourth line getting that goal for us was a big lift and it really sparked the guys to build from there."
Almost immediately, the Ravens brought the play back to the attacking zone, falling just short on repeat chances to shrink their two-goal deficit. But with the scoreboard just passing the midway point of the period, the Ravens would notch the elusive second goal.
After a pass from Brassard brought the Ravens to the Patriotes' zone, Ryan Van Stralen (Prescott, ON) found Brent Norris (Ottawa, ON) travelling cross-ice en route to the right-side faceoff circle where he would beat a flat-footed defenceman and snap the puck through Auger's five-hole.
With the ice now heavily tilted in the Ravens' favour, the team continued to throw everything they could at the Patriotes' net, hoping that another one of their 33 shots could find its way through. But with Auger providing the same, stone-cold goaltending that helped shut out the Ravens in the opening periods, the Patriotes would remain on top.
Following a last-minute empty-net goal from Carl-Antoine Delisle, the Patriotes would cement their 4-2 lead and lay claim to the second game in this best-of-three series.
With the loss, the Ravens will prepare for a third-and-deciding game three Sunday night at the Ice House. The do-or-die scenario is the last OUA East quarter-final matchup to be determined as the McGill Redmen, Concordia Stingers, and Queen's Gaels all won their series matchups Saturday night. A game three win for either the Ravens or Patriotes would pair them with the first-seed Redmen in the OUA semifinals.
With that said, however, second-round thoughts are still a distant reality for the cross-province rivals as both teams will need to lay it all on the line Sunday night before getting there.
Source: Carleton Ravens