McNicoll shines brighter than a penny as Redmen polish off Rams

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Cedric McNicoll (left) and Neal Prokop (right)

Box Score
MONTREAL — Cedric McNicoll of Thetford, Mines, Que., scored twice and added a helper as No. 9-ranked McGill quadrupuled Ryerson 4-1 in men’s university hockey at McConnell Arena, Friday.

It was the third straight victory for the Redmen,snapped a three-game win streak for the Rams and avenged McGill 3-2 overtime loss at Ryerson last year, improving their lifetime record against the Rams to 42-7-1 overall.

McNicoll, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound all-star centre, tallied the game’s first and last goals, including a nifty coast-to-coast marker in the final period that concluded with a deft deke and a backhanded shot into the top corner of the net. He also set up linemate Patrick Delisle-Houde for what proved to be the game-winner at 18:30 of the opening period, which gave the Redmen a 2-1 advantage heading into the first intermission.

“He’s such a dynamic offensive player and had a highlight reel goal tonight, bringing the fans out of their seats. He’s been real consistent and good for us again this season,” said head coach Kelly Nobes of McNicoll, who leads the Redmen and ranks eighth in the OUA scoring race with a 4-16-20 record in 12 games. A third-year accounting major, he was honoured in Ottawa on Nov. 17 by David Johnston, the Govenor-General of Canada, for being selected among the Top Eight Academic All-Canadians in the country.

Kyle Blaney connected for the lone Ryerson goal on a power-play midway through the first period.

There was no scoring in the middle frame but the ice appeared to be tilted in McGill’s favour as they outshot the Rams 15-4 but could put the puck past netminder Troy Passingham.

“Ryerson’s got good team speed with some dangerous offensive players and their goalie had a very good game tonight, especially in the second period when he kept the game tight and gave them a chance,” said Nobes.

“But i liked the way we played for the full 60 minutes. We were moving our feet tonight, playing with good speed, especially in the offensive zone, creating lots of chances.”

Rookie Simon Tardif-Richard finally gave the Redmen some breathing room with an insurance goal at 2:45 of the final stanza, setting the stage for McNicoll’s grand finale.

McGill had a 41-30 edge in shots, excluding four attempts that went off the goalpost. Redmen netminder Jacob Gervais-Chouinard of Sherbrooke, Que., made 29 saves and improved his record to 6-2-0 on the season. The economics sophomore has been very economical agains this season. He ranks third among all OUA netminders in goals-against average (1.89) and fourth in save percentage (.937).

Passingham was credited with 37 saves for the Rams and took the loss, dropping to 8-5-0.

The Redmen were 0-for-5 on the power-play and killed off six of seven shorthand scenarios, including a two-man disadvantage for 43 seconds in the final stanza.

“Even tough we didn’t score on the power-play, our special teams were solid,” added Nobes. “We hit a few goalposts on the PP and had some really good looks. You don’t always connect but you want to get good chances and we did that. Once again our penalty-kill unit was very solid. Ryerson’s got some dangerous players and we adjusted well on the PK against them.”

Ryerson, which sits third in the OUA West with an 8-4-1 record, will head back to Toronto and are off until Nov. 27 when they travel to Guelph.

The Redmen, who sit third in a tough OUA East Division with a stellar 10-3-0 record, failed to gain ground on division-leading UQTR (11-1-1) and second-place Carleton (11-2-0), both of whom won their Friday night games as well. McGill will renew hostilities for the 222nd time with the visiting Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a long-standing rivalry that began way back on Feb. 20, 1899. McGill is  85-121-15 lifetime against the Blues, including a 27-10-4 mark in the last 41 confrontations.

REDMEN RAP: A number of former Redmen were spotted among the faces in the crowd, including Chris Churchill-Smith (2004-08), Mike Farmer (1976-79), Mike Nelson (1978-84) and Ken Davis, a ninth-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings who played for the Redmen from 2002 to 2006. Davis was visiting from Calgary, recruiting students from the Desautels faculty of management, for potential employment with a prominent wealth management firm in Alberta.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE BOXSCORE

SCORING SUMMARY
Ryerson 1 at McGill 4
(Friday, November 21, 2014 – McConnell Arena)

GOALS BY PERIOD:
Ryerson 1-0-0 — 1
McGill 2-0-2 — 4

1st Period-
1, McGill, Cedric McNicoll 3 (Rose, Delisle-Houde), 7:28.
2, Ryerson, Kyle Blaney 5 (Clairmont, Leader), 12:25 (PP).
3, McGill, Patrick Delisle-Houde 5 (McNicoll, Rose), 18:30.

Penalties-McNicoll Mcg (hooking), 10:28; Laporte Mcg (holding), 13:22; Levesque Mcg (high sticking), 18:50.

2nd Period-
(No Scoring).

Penalties-Basso Rye (cross checking), 7:16; Cutting Rye (slashing), 11:06; Barnard Mcg (tripping), 12:21; Leader Rye (holding), 16:05.

3rd Period-
4, McGill, Simon Tardif-Richard 4 (Pompei), 2:45.
5, McGill, Cedric McNicoll 4 (Delisle-Houde), 16:50.

Penalties-Tsogkas Rye (tripping), 6:15; Alberga Rye (cross checking), 8:21; Barnard Mcg (interference), 12:38; Vachon Mcg (inter. on goaltender), 13:55; Barnard Mcg (slashing), 17:18.

Shots on Goal-
Ryerson 15-4-11 — 30.
McGill 15-15-11 — 41.

Power Play Opportunities-
Ryerson 1 / 7;
McGill 0 / 5.

Penalties/Minutes-
Ryerson 5 / 10;
McGill 7 / 14.

Goalies-
Ryerson, Troy Passingham (L, 8-5-0, 41 shots-37 saves; 57:18).
McGill, Jacob Gervais-Chouinard (W, 6-2-0, 30 shots-29 saves; 60:00).

Attendance: 330
Start: 7:01 PM
End: 9:13 PM
Length: 2:12

Referees-Benoit Lessard, Rémi Gibeau.
Linesmen-Christopher Provost, Jean-Francois Losier.

MOLSON CUP THREE STARS
1. MCG – 11 Cedric McNicoll
2. MCG – 28 Patrick Delisle-Houde
3. MCG – 7 David Rose

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