MONTREAL — Tommy Giroux of Quebec City scored twice and added an assist as the No.8-ranked UQTR Patriotes drew first blood in the annual “Battle of Quebec” series versus McGill and skated away with a 3-1 victory over the No.7-ranked Redmen at McConnell Arena, Sunday.
A key OUA East matchup between two of the league’s top teams, it was also the first regular season meeting between the long-time rivals who had tangled in Trois-Rivieres during the preseason, a 3-0 Pats victory. With Sunday’s result in the books, UQTR improved to 12-2-2 and moved into a first-place tie with McGill (13-4-0) but hold a game in hand.
Both teams were coming off an extended five-week layoff during the December exam break and it was the Redmen who showed the first signs of rust only 90 seconds after the opening faceoff. McGill goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard mishandled a UQTR dump-in by Giroux behind his net and was beaten by centre Anthony Verret who connected his sixth of the season on a wrap-around into the vacated net.
The Redmen bounced right back just 93 seconds later, however, when Alexandre Lemieux of St. Basile le Grand, Que., converted a rebound from Benoit Levesque‘s initial shot. It was the first career marker in league play for the sophomore who had also tallied three times in pre-season action.
Giroux gave the Pats a 2-1 lead at 2:44 of the second stanza, then took advantage of a 5-on-3 power-play in the final minute of the third period to add his 13th goal in 16 games with an empty-netter at 19:41.
Gervais-Chouinard made 22 saves and took the loss for McGill, which outshot UQTR 28-25. His record now stands at 7-3-0. UQTR goalie Guillaume Nadeau, made 27 saves for the win and also owns a 7-3-0 record,
The Pats went 1-for-3 on the power-play, while McGill was 0-for-3.
It marked the 241st lifetime meeting between the bitter rivals as UQTR improved to 150-74-17 overall, including a 108-51-16 mark in 175 regular season confrontations. The teams will meet once more before playoffs, at Trois-Rivieres Jan. 28 and appear to be on a collision course to cross paths for the 19th time in post-season play, where McGill has won the last seven playoff series after UQTR had prevailed in the first 11.
The Redmen now face the prospect of a lengthy road trip as they will bus to Southern Ontario next weekend to play the Waterloo Warriors (11-6-1) and Laurier Golden Hawks (5-12-1), Jan. 10-11, respectively. The confrontation against the Warriors will mark the 200th game at McGill for head coach Kelly Nobes, who has compiled a 138-58-3 overall record in five seasons behind the Redmen bench. Nobes, a native of West Hill, Ont., who previously played for the Redmen, has a lifetime coaching record of 278-226-14 in 518 games of CIS hockey, including stints at RMC and Laurier.
REDMEN RAP: Michel Boucher, an amateur scout for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, was spotted in the crowd… McGill assistant coach Chris Laperle received an early Christmas present when he became a father for the second time over the holiday break… His wife Ali Martin-Mayer, an assistant dean in the McGill faculty of law, gave birth to son Caleb Martin Laperle on Dec. 23 and the new addition joins sister Victoria in the their household… Laperle, in his fifth season as video coordinator with the Redmen coaching staff, owns four national championship rings, including one with McGill (2012), two on staff with the NCAA’s Middlebury College (2005, 2006) and one with the University of Denver (2004).
UQTR 3 at McGill 1 (ENG)
(Sunday, January 4, 2015 at McConnell Arena)
GOALS BY PERIOD:
UQTR 1-1-1 — 3
McGill 1-0-0 — 1
1, UQTR, Anthony Verret 6 (Giroux, Mimar), 1:30.
2, McGill, Alexandre Lemieux 1 (Levesque), 3:03.
Penalties-Plouffe UQTR (high sticking), 11:53; Lambert-Lemay Mcg (holding), 19:04.
3, UQTR, Tommy Giroux 12 (Verret, Mimar), 4:44.
Penalties-Quevillon UQTR (slashing), 9:13.
4, UQTR, Tommy Giroux 13 (Hotte), 19:41 (PP/ENG).
Penalties-Filiatrault UQTR (kneeing), 13:20; Brunelle Mcg (tripping), 19:12; Delisle-Houde Mcg (high sticking), 19:12.
Shots on Goal-
UQTR 6-11-8 — 25.
McGill 8-9-11 — 28.
Power Play Opportunities-
UQTR 1 / 3;
McGill 0 / 3.
UQTR, Guillaume Nadeau (W, 7-3-0, 28 shots-27 saves; 60:00).
McGill, Jacob Gervais-Chouinard (L, 7-3-0, 24 shots-22 saves; 59:18).
Start: 4:02 PM
End: 6:08 PM
Referees-Simon Tarte, Jonathan Alarie.
Linesmen-Maxime Chaput, Jean-Francois Losier.
MOLSON CUP THREE STARS
1. UQTR – 28 Tommy Giroux
2. MCG – 27 Benoit Levesque
3. UQTR – 61 Anthony Verret