MONTREAL – The McGill University women’s hockey team begins the “second season”, Thursday, when they host the Ottawa Gee-Gees in a best-of three semifinal series at McConnell Arena, located at 3883 University. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Children 12 and under get in for free.
Game 2 will be at uOttawa’s Minto Sports Complex on Saturday at 2 p.m. If a deciding game is needed, it is slated for Sunday back at McConnell Arena at 3 p.m.
The Martlets, ranked No.1 in the last CIS Top 10 poll under the guidance of head coach Peter Smith, finished atop the standings in the RSEQ conference for the 10th consecutive season, with a stellar 16-4-0 record, scoring 86 goals, while allowing just 42. The enter the playoffs on a five-game win streak.
The Gee-Gees, led by fifth-year head coach Yanick Evola, posted an 8-12-0 record, with 42 goals for and 62 against in 20 games. They also enter the ost-season on a bit of a roll, with four wins in their last five contests, including a 4-2 shocker over the Montreal Carabins on Feb. 1.
The Martlets own a head-to-head record of 83-12-7 in 102 lifetime meetings against Ottawa and have won 16 consecutive confrontations since losing 2-0 in Game 1 of the conference semifinals on Feb. 22, 2012.
This season, McGill swept the five-game series, outscoring Ottawa 24-8. The scores were 4-3 (Oct. 26), 7-1 (Nov. 1), 5-1 (Nov. 22), 5-2 (Jan. 9) and 3-1 (Feb. 20). In the last meeting between the two clubs, the Martlets outshot Ottawa 46-9.
McGill led the nation in shots per game (40.4), were second in goals-per-game (4.25) and were 13th in goals-against average (2.09). The had the fifth-best power-play in the CIS (19.8%) but only the 19th-best penalty-kill (82.7%). That said, they led the nation with seven shorthanded goals.
Ottawa was 22nd in goals per game (2.00) and 29th in goals-against average (3.10). On special teams, they were 31st of 33 teams in power-play percentage (10.0%) and 26th in penalty-killing (80.9%).
The teams have crossed paths in post-season play on seven occasions with the Martlets winning six times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012). The lone Gee-Gees series victory was a two-game sweep in 2004. In 16 playoff games, McGill owns an 11-5 record, outscoring the Gee-Gees 58-23. They have only gone to overtime once to settle a playoff contest and the Gee-Gees won that one 3-2 in double overtime on Feb. 23, 2005.
McGill boasts three players who enter the playoffs in the top ten in scoring in the country. Gabrielle Davidson finished second in the nation with 39 points, including 19 goals in 20 contests. She was two points shy of Manitoba’s Alanna Sherman who played eight more games.
Linemates Katia Clement-Heydra (20GP: 9-26-35) and Leslie Oles (18GP: 14-17-31) finished fourth and eighth, respectively.
The Martlets also received an added bonus when Melodie Daoust rejoined the team late in the season after missing 17 games with a knee injury. The Canadian Olympic gold medallist posted an imposing 3-4-7 record in her three games.
The blueline is anchored by Kelsie Moffatt and Brittney Fouracres. Moffatt was the top-scoring rearguard in the RSEQ, with a 3-14-17 record in 20 games. Fouracres, who missed four contests to play for Canada at the FISU World University Games, was the league’s third-leading defender with a 4-8-12 record in 16 outings.
In net, Brittany Smrke is expected to get the call as Taylor Hough (6-1, 1.95 GAA, .887 SV%) has missed the last five games with an unspecified injury suffered in practice. Smrke posted a 10-3 record with three shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and a save percentage of .888.
For the Gee-Gees, Carol-Ann Upshall has led the team all year in goals and points (9-5-14) to go along with three game-winners. Vickie Lemire and Camille Pauck-Therrien round out the Gee-Gees top three in scoring. Pauck-Therrien had a solid second half, registering points in six of her last seven games.
Between the pipes, rookie goaltender Maude Lévesque-Ryan had a 7-10 record, with a 2,94 goals-against average and an impressive .923 save percentage while facing an average of 38.3 shots in 18 appearances.
RSEQ SEMIFINAL SERIES SCHEDULE:
Game 1: Ottawa @ McGill – February 26, – 7 p.m. (Webcast on SSN Canada)
Game 2: McGill @ Ottawa – February 28, 2 p.m. (Webcast on OUA.tv)
Game 3*: Ottawa @ McGill March 1 – 3 p.m. (Webcast on SSN Canada)
NOTE: LIVE STATS FOR ALL GAME AVAILABLE HERE
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