(PHOTO OF ANDREW WRIGHT BY ANDREW DOBROWOLSKYJ)
TORONTO - Byron Elliott of Burlington, Ont., tallied twice and goaltender Garrett Sheehan from Cremona, Alta., made 43 saves as the Toronto Varsity Blues surprised the visiting McGill Redmen, ranked No.2 in Canada, with a 4-3 upset in university hockey at Varsity Arena, Saturday.
The result halted McGill's seven-game win streak in league play and snapped their three-game streak over the Varsity Blues dating back to a 4-3 loss at Toronto on Nov. 28, 2009.
McGill, which fell to 17-2-2, had an overwhelming 46-23 edge in shots, including a 19-5 onslaught in the final period but for the most part, was unable to solve Sheehan. The six-foot, 180-pound sophomore even stymied Maxime Langelier-Parent on a penalty shot awarded at 16:42 of the opening period after the speedy McGill centre was hauled down from behind while on a breakaway.
The unranked Varsity Blues, who improved to 10-7-3, led 1-0 after one period and 3-1 after two.
"I didn't think our execution was very good tonight," said McGill head coach Kelly Nobes. "We weren't very sharp and I would attribute that to being outworked in the first 40 minutes of the game. Full credit to U of T. They came prepared to play and certainly played well but it comes down to being outworked for 40 minutes and that is just not acceptable for us. Yeah we had a lot of shots and a lot of offensive opportunities but execution and sharpness wasn't there."
Toronto jumped into an early lead on Elliott's shorthanded marker, then stretched that to 3-0 when Blake Boddy and Kyle Ventura eluded netminder Hubert Morin. Toronto played a very aggressive style and it appeared that would play into McGill's favour as the Blues drew 14 penalties for 50 minutes. The Redmen, who only took eight penalties for 24 minutes, went 2-for-8 on the power play and killed off all U of T man-advantage situations. The PK unit, sparked by the return of Marc-Andre Daneau to the lineup after he missed the entire first semester with a knee injury, has now killed off 19 consecutive penalties.
The Redmen finally solved Sheehan when rookie Marc-Olivier Vachon of Thetford Mines, Que., converted a pass from Toronto native Andrew Wright on the power play at 18:36 of the middle stanza. When rearguard Ben Morse made it 3-2 on the power play only 44 seconds into the final period, it appeared that the Redmen were about to orchestrate another one of their trademark come-from-behind victories. But only 18 seconds later, Elliott struck for his 15th of the season to suck the wind from McGill's sails.
Wright breathed some life into McGill's offence when he scored at 12:59 but Sheehan withstood a furious barrage in the final minutes to preserve the win to improve his record to 5-6.
Morin, who was credited with 20 saves, took the loss for the Redmen and dropped to 8-3.
McGill, which was slightly shaken but not stirred, returns to the friendly confines of McConnell Arena next weekend when they host fourth-place Carleton (11-7-2) on Jan. 20 in the annual Faculty of Management Winter Carnival game. A near sell-out crowd is expected for the event, which is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
REDMEN RAP: Defenceman Marc-Andre Dorion was finally held off the scoresheet, ending his point-scoring streak at 10 games... The McGill-Toronto series is one of the oldest hockey rivalries in the world, dating all the way back to 1899. Toronto leads the all-time series with a 121-82-15 record but McGill has won seven of the last nine and 14 of 20 dating back to the 2004-05 season...Coach Nobes noted that he was pleasantly surprised with a good turnout of McGill alumni at the game in Toronto. Among the friendly faces in the crowd was Derek Prohar, a former Redmen rearguard from Avonlea, Sask., who played four seasons with Nobes at McGill from 1994 to 1998. Prohar, who has risen to the rank of Major in the Canadian Armed Forces, served in Afghanistan. He is scheduled to be honoured by Governor-General David Johnston in the near future when he receives a Meritorious Service Medal, an award for bravery that is more often than not, bestowed posthumously. He previously received the Medal of Military Valour from then Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean in 2007. Prohar is currently working on a master's degree in Defence Studies at Canadian Forces College in North York, a military school for senior and general officers which is designed to enable officers to provide effective leadership.
McGill 3 at Toronto 4
(Saturday, January 14, 2012 - Varsity Arena)
GOALS BY PERIOD
McGill 0-1-2 -- 3
Toronto 1-2-1 -- 4
1, Toronto, Byron Elliott 14 (unassisted), 4:41 (SH).
Kay Tor (boarding), 2:47;
Zippel Tor (checking to the head, 10-minute misconduct), 9:18;
Yolevski Tor (tripping), 13:05;
Bourgeois Mcg (cross checking), 13:51;
Walters Tor (roughing), 13:51;
Brewer Tor (slashing), 15:40;
TEAM Tor (tripping; PENALTY SHOT), 16:42;
Verreault-Paul Mcg (roughing), 18:30.
2, Toronto, Blake Boddy 7 (Ventura, Yolevski), 9:32.
3, Toronto, Kyle Ventura 12 (Bergin, Markovic), 14:49.
4, McGill, Marc-Olivier Vachon 5 (Verreault-Paul. Morse), 18:36 (PP).
Langelier-Parent Mcg (boarding), 0:14;
Walters Tor (boarding), 3:31;
Biniek Mcg (checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct), 7:28;
McKiernan Mcg (roughing), 10:13;
Preston Tor (slashing), 10:13;
Markovic Tor (roughing), 10:15;
Brewer Tor (checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct), 16:46;
Turcotte Tor (checking to the head, 10-minute misconduct), 19:57.
5, McGill, Ben Morse 1 (Dorion, Picard-Hooper), 0:44 (PP).
6, Toronto, Byron Elliott 15 (Van De Velde, Yolevski), 1:02.
7, McGill, Andrew Wright 4 (Vachon, Vossen), 12:59.
Wright Mcg (interference), 14:20;
Elliott Tor (slashing), 14:35.
Shots on Goal-
McGill 10-17-19 -- 46.
Toronto 7-11-5 -- 23.
Power Play Opportunities-
McGill 2 / 8 (one SHG against)
Toronto 0 / 5.
McGill 8 / 24;
Toronto 14 / 50.
McGill, Hubert Morin (L, 8-3, 23 shots-19 saves; 58:55).
Toronto, Garrett Sheehan (W, 5-6, 46 shots-43 saves; 60:00).
McGill, Maxime Langelier-Parent SAVED by Garrett Sheehan (16:42, 1st period)
Start: 7:35 PM
End: 9:50 PM
Referee- Mike Bolibruck.
MOLSON CUP THREE STARS:
1. TOR - 35 Garrett Sheehan
2. TOR - 17 Byron Elliottt
3. McG - 19 Andrew Wright
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