McGill to cross paths with Concordia in men’s hockey playoffs for 11th time; Quarter-finals begin on Wednesday

Performing the ceremonial faceoff for the "Score With School Game" are (L to R): Concordia captain Olivier Hinse, Mario Barrette of the LBPSB, former Redmen captain Mike Richards and current McGill captain Benoit Levesque (PHOTO BY REMI LU)

MONTREAL — The McGill University men’s hockey team begins its quest for a fifth Queen’s Cup league championship in eight years this week when they host Concordia in an OUA best-of-three quarter-final series. Puck drop for Game 1 on Wednesday is 7 p.m. at McConnell Arena.

Tickets for McGill’s home games are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Children under 12 are admitted free.

It marks the second consecutive year and the 11th time in history that these cross-town rivals will meet in the post-season, McGill has captured seven of the previous 10 series, winning 13 of 23 playoff games. The Redmen have taken the last two playoff confrontations, in 2014 and 2007. Concordia hasn’t beaten McGill in the post-season since 2001.

“Concordia has some good players that are dangerous offensively,” said McGill head coach Kelly Nobes, who owns a 26-8-0 post-season record over his previous four seasons behind the Redmen bench. “They’re very opportunistic and we just have to play a structured game and stick to that when we play them. We have to trust that if we play the right way, we’ll get the outcome we want.”

The Redmen, who captured the OUA East pennant with a stellar 21-5-0 record, enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the conference having won eight in a row. Their power-play struggled at 16.3 per cent, which ranked 15th in the OUA but McGill did tie for second in the league with five shorthanded goals (Concordia led with six). McGill had the third-best penalty-killing efficiency at 88.3 per cent. Concordia’s PP was 13th (16.8%) and their PK was 15th (78.6%).

Led by goaltenders Jacob Gervais-Chouinard (13-3-0) and Karel St-Laurent (8-2-0), McGill led the nation in both goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.935). On offence, Cedric McNicoll paced the Redmen and finished fourth in the conference with 34 points, including 11 goals in 25 games. On the blueline, Samuel Labrecque led all CIS defencemen with 13 goals, seven on the power-play, in 26 contests.

The eighth-place Stingers (8-17-1), coached by Kevin Figsby, features a lineup with Olivier Hinse, the OUA’s co-leader in goals, who found the back of the net 18 times. However, Concordia is also prone to defensive lapses, ranking 18th in goals against, allowing 4.58 goals per game – the worst of any OUA playoff team. Their top point-scoring blueliner is Sean Blunden, who posted a 3-10-13 record in 17 games. Robin Billingham, their No.1 goaltender, turned aside 83 of 92 shots (.902) against McGill during the regular season.

The Redmen swept the best-of-three quarter-final series against Concordia last year. The teams met three times during the 2014-15 campaign, with Concordia winning a preseason affair at McGill 5-4 in overtime (Sept. 13) but the Redmen swept both regular season meetings, 5-3 in the “Score With School” morning game on Nov. 27 and 4-3 in double overtime last Friday in the annual Corey Cup game at the Ed Meagher Arena.

The Redmen are 91-94-14 lifetime against the Stingers in a rivalry that began in 1975. Game 1 of the playoffs on Wednesday will be the 200th lifetime meeting between McGill and Concordia. The second game is slated for Friday at Concordia’s Ed Meagher Arena  (7:30 p.m.). If a rubber match is needed, it will be held at McConnell Arena on Sunday at 7 p.m.

All of McGill’s home playoff games are scheduled to be webcast live on SSN Canada with Live stats are available.

The full schedule for each of OUA quarter-final series is available here.

Earl Zukerman
McGill Sports Info Office