MONTREAL — Patrick Delisle-Houde, a science junior from Quebec City, scored the game-winner on a power-play at 13:44 of the third period as the No.6-ranked McGill men’s hockey team skated to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over visiting Queen’s to draw first blood in their OUA East best-of-three semifinal at McConnell Arena, Wednesday.
It was McGill’s 28th consecutive victory over their long-time rivals, dating back to a 5-2 Gaels win in Montreal more than a decade ago on Feb. 6, 2004. The Redmen are 122-50-2 in 174 lifetime meetings with Queen’s and have taken five of six playoff confrontations.
Queen’s faces elimination in Game 2 on Friday night at the Kingston Memorial Centre at 7:30 p.m. For tickets to see the action visit www.gogaelsgo.com/tickets The game is scheduled to be webcast on OUA TV and live stats will also be available. If a rubber match is needed, it is slated for Sunday night (7 p.m.) at McConnell Arena.
After a cautious and scoreless opening period, one which featured a 19-6 edge in shots for McGill, Cedric McNicoll of Boucherville, Que., finally broke the ice for the Redmen with his third goal in four playoff games, redirecting a pass in the slot at 7:52, from linemate David Rose. Defenceman Samuel Labrecque also drew an assist on the play, his first of two helpers.
Less than seven minutes later, Andrew Wiebe of Thunder Bay, Ont., evened the score for Queen’s on a power-play, with help from Spencer Abraham and Patrick McGillis.
McGill, which has won 11 of their last dozen league and playoff games, was assessed an uncharacteristic 10 out of the 16 penalties called. After conceding the first-period PPG, they killed off five straight shorthanded situations over the last two periods before finally getting a power-play opportunity at 13:23 of the final period that led to the winning tally. It only took 21 seconds before Delisle-Houde redirected a shot from Jonathan Brunelle who fired from the left faceoff circle after receiving the puck from Labrecque at the point.
With his two assists, Labrecque now has six points, including three goals, in four post-season contests. The 5-foot-8 transfer from Clarkson University sits a few points in arrears of McNicoll (3-6-9) and Brunelle (2-7-9), who share the lead for the OUA’s playoff scoring race.
McGill was 1-for-4 on a power-play unit that is a stellar 5-for-15 in the playoffs. They killed off six of seven PP situations for the Gaels, who are now operating at a lowly 11.1 per cent (2-for-18) with the man-advantage in post-season play.
The Redmen had a 36-29 edge in shots as goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard made 28 saves for the win, improving to 3-1 in the post-season.
“I expected it to be a low-scoring game because you’ve got two of the best goalies in the CIS (going up against each other) and they both played good games,” said McGill head coach Kelly Nobes, who improved to 149-60-3 in 212 games overall behind the Redmen bench. “Shewy (Gervais-Chouinard) was real focussed and had a real solid game for us but so did their guy.”
Kevin Bailie, a sophomore from Belleville, Ont., took the loss for the Gaels, registering 34 saves as his playoff record evened out at 2-2.
“I didn’t think we played our best game,” added Nobes. “The energy level was low at least over the first two periods. We had a good, smart third period; had to kill some penalties, play well in our own end without the puck and when we finally got our power-play chance we were able to score. But were going to need to be better in Game 2.”
Queen’s 1 at McGill 2
(Wednesday, February 18, 2015 – McConnell Arena)
GOALS BY PERIOD:
Queen’s 0-1-0 — 1
McGill 0-1-1 — 2
Penalties-Jackson Qns (interference), 0:35; Langelier-Parent Mcg (holding), 0:35; Brunelle Mcg (checking to the head, 10-minute misconduct), 11:55; Jackson Qns (tripping), 12:47; Clements Qns (high sticking), 15:43; Downe Qns (slashing), 17:28.
1, McGill, McNicoll 3 (Rose, Labrecque), 7:52.
2, Queen’s, Wiebe 1 (Abraham, McGillis), 14:38 (PP).
Penalties-McNicoll Mcg (holding opp. stick), 5:35; Lambert-Lemay Mcg (cross checking), 10:22; Bonneau Mcg (hooking), 14:04; Boutet Mcg (charging), 17:21.
3, McGill, Delisle-Houde 1 (Brunelle, Labrecque), 13:44 (PP).
Penalties-Brunelle Mcg (hooking), 8:45; Downe Qns (hooking), 13:23; Jackson Qns (roughing), 13:23; Rose Mcg (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 13:23; McNicoll Mcg (hooking), 14:50.
Shots on Goal-
Queen’s 6-13-10 — 29.
McGill 19-9-8 — 36.
Power Play Opportunities-
Queen’s 1 / 6;
McGill 1 / 5.
Kevin Bailie (L, 2-2-0; 36 shots-34 saves, 58:32).
Empty-net (0 goals against, 1:28)
Jacob Gervais-Chouinard 3-1-0 (29 shots-28 saves; 60:00).
Start: 7:01 PM
End: 9:06 PM
Referees-Olivier Gouin, Pascal St-Jacques.
Linesmen-Nicolas Piche, Maxime Chaput.