Friday, March 25, 2011

Game 1: McGill vs. StFX

Redmen drop X-Men in University Cup opener

(Christopher Cameron)

After a 0-2 finish at last year’s University Cup the No. 2 McGill Redmen’s third period push was enough to give them a 2-1 the victory over the No. 5 StFX X-Men.

With goals from Guillaume Doucet and Marc Andre Daneau, the Redmen struggled to find a way to solve StFX goaltender Joseph Perricone for the majority of the game.

This all began early as a penalty 25 seconds into the game against Kevin Undershute put StFX to the test immediately.

The speedy McGill team mustered two shots and multiple chances, with Perricone shutting the door every time.

McGill found themselves shorthanded as their powerplay came to an end, but it was no issue for them as StFX struggled to get quality chances against the strong penalty kill by the Redmen.

The period continued with McGill showing their speed against a sluggish X-Men team. Multiple chances narrowly missed the back of the StFX net, with Verreault-Paul setting up Andrew Wright from behind the net for their closest chance, flying just above the crossbar.

A late penalty against McGill resulted in no shots for StFX on the powerplay and the period ending in a 0-0 tie.

In the second period StFX came out with new life with multiple chances from coming off the stick of Murdoch MacLellan, with two chances early, but McGill goalie Hubert Morin closed the door on both occasions.

StFX continued to have quality scoring chances as the CIS rookie of the year, Jonathan Bast, stepped up his game for StFX in the second with his shorthanded opportunity on an open cage being tipped just above the net by a sprawling Morin.

Bast would not be held off the score sheet all game as he found a way beat Morin, putting the puck through the McGill defences’ feet, followed by perfectly placed shot over the glove hand of the McGill goaltender.

“It was kind of a broken play at centre ice; it all happened so fast,” said Bast about the goal after the game. “Sometimes when you’re in the moment you don’t really think you just react and that is kind of what happened and before I knew it, it was in.”

McGill mustered a few chances late with Marcotte and Verreault-Paul getting quality chances from the slot, but Perricone stood tall again to keep the score at 1-0 after two periods.

In the third, StFX continued to get themselves into penalty trouble, but stayed on track with their penalty kill, keeping McGill from getting any shots on goal during the powerplay.

Just as the powerplay expired, Marcotte tried to tuck the puck past a sprawled out Perricone, but he found a way to keep the Redmen forward off the score sheet.

Perricone had put his team in a position to win, keeping McGill from finding the back of the net until at 4:24 of the third, Doucet found the back of the net as he broke in over the blue line to Perricone’s right, cutting across the net, out waiting the sprawling X-Men goaltender, and slipping it past him to tie the game at 1-1.

After the game McGill head coach Kelly Nobes discussed how this goal fell perfectly under their game plan.

“Our game plan was to get the puck wide with speed against some of their D and certainly that’s what [Doucet] did on the first goal, which really gave us some life in the third,” said Nobes. “There was a sense of frustration setting in, but we were relentless in the third period and kept coming and that goal gave us a lot of confidence.”

Midway through the third the Redmen took control of the game as Daneau found the back of the net at 9:26 to give McGill the lead 2-1.

The remainder of the game saw some great chances from StFX with Matthew Bragg being robbed point-blank by Morin with a stick save to keep his team in the lead with just under six minutes left in the game.

StFX took another penalty with 5:07 remaining in the game, putting extra strain on their comeback, which fell short as Morin picked up the win with 25 saves to Perricone’s 38 in the loss.

Daneau pointed out how important this win was to the Redmen.

“It’s good for us to start the tournament with a win. It’s good for the confidence and we know here if you get one loss it’s hard to make it to the finals,” said Daneau. “Obviously it’s good for us and obviously the guys are really happy to start with a win.”

The X-Men play Alberta Friday, while McGill gets a day off before meeting the Golden Bears Saturday afternoon.

The tournament is not over for StFX and as head coach Brad Peddle said his X-Men team cannot focus on the loss.

“It’s obviously very disappointing, but we have to regroup quickly and focus on Alberta tomorrow. We’re not out of this thing,” said Peddle. “We had great chances, they had great chances. They just capitalized on one more.”

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