(MARTLETS CELEBRATE GOAL AGAINST CARABINS. PHOTO BY DEREK DRUMMOND)
MONTREAL - It may have been a long and winding road to travel for a six-kilometre trek to the other side of Mt. Royal but it paid off in the end as the visiting No.2-ranked McGill women's hockey team squeaked past the Université de Montreal Carabins 2-1 at CEPSUM Arena, Friday and clinched first place for the seventh straight year in the Quebec league.
With three games remaining before playoffs, the division-leading Martlets improved to 15-1-1 for 31 points, a comfortable 10-point cushion over the second-place Carabins (10-5-1) who at best, can finish with 29 points in the RSEQ standings.
Kim Ton-That, a junior forward from Beaconsfield, Que., snapped a 1-1 draw with her sixth of the season at 4:50 of the final period and it held up as the game-winner. Leslie Oles, also from Beaconsfield, had given McGill a 1-0 lead before the game was four minutes old but Carabins blueliner Jessica Bong evened the score at 1-1 midway through the middle stanza
The day wasn't without drama, however, as the McGill team bus showed up 40 minutes late and then got stuck in the snow and ice when maneuvering around the friendly confines of McConnell Arena in anticipation of an 11-minute jaunt to the U de M campus. The Martlets lucked out because there just happened to be another bus in the parking lot. It had just finished transporting the Concordia men's hockey team to McGill for 7 p.m. face-off against the Redmen. Concordia agreed to do McGill a favour and let their bus transport the Martlets to their game. Due to the logistics of where the two busses were located, however, it took the Martlets close to an hour to load the second bus with their equipment and by the time they arrived at U de M, they were more than an hour late and had had just 20 minutes to get on the ice for the pre-game warm-up slated for 6:30 p.m.
As a result, McGill appeared somewhat lethargic for the first part of the game as the Carabins had a 14-9 advantage in shots after the first period and a 14-12 edge in the middle session.
Goaltender Charline Labonté was on her game, however, and kept the Martlets in this one until they found their legs in the final period. The fifth-year senior from Boisbriand, Que., was credited with 31 saves, improving her record to 13-2 on the season and 79-3-0 in 82 career regular-season starts.
Carabins rookie netminder Elodie Rousseau-Sirois of Pte. Claire, Que., made 29 saves in a losing cause and fell to 9-5
Next weekend, McGill will host the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m., then play at Carleton on Feb. 11.
McGill 2 at Montreal 1
(Friday, February 3, 2012 - Arena CEPSUM)
GOALS BY PERIOD:
McGill 1-0-1 -- 2
Montreal 0-1-0 -- 1
1, McGill, Leslie Oles 14 (A.S. Bettez, G. Ferrari), 3:42.
Brault Mtl (tripping), 10:51;
Clement-Heydra Mcg (hooking), 14:47.
2, Montreal, Jessica Bond 1 (unassisted), 11:33.
3, McGill, Kim Ton-That 6 (G. Ferrari, K. Moffatt), 4:50.
Murray Mcg (interference), 5:46;
Chartrand Mcg (hooking), 6:34.
Shots on Goal-
McGill 9-12-10 -- 31.
Power Play Opportunities-
McGill 0 / 1;
Montreal 0 / 3.
McGill, Charline Labonte (W, 13-2-0, 32 shots-31 saves; 60:00).
Montreal, Elodie Rousseau-Sirois (L, 1-1-0, 31 shots-29 saves; 60:00).
Start: 6:59 PM
End: 9:00 PM
Linesmen-Lysanne Patry and (unknown).
1. MCG - 54 Charline Labonte
2. MCG - 27 Gillian Ferrari
3. MTL - 19 Jessica Bond