Wright on target as relentless Redmen rally in OT, clinch OUA East title for sixth time in 7 years
(LEFT: Andrew Wright and teammates celebrate OT
winner in front of dejected UQTR players. RIGHT: Benoit Levesque
celebrates an apparent early goal that was ruled to have hit the
goal post. Both photos by Sylvain Meyer, courtesy of Le
TROIS-RIVIERES - Andrew Wright of Toronto scored a pair of power-play goals, including the game-winner in double overtime, as the No.2-ranked McGill men's hockey team rallied from a late deficit to knock off the No.9-UQTR Patriotes 5-4 at Le Colisée, Saturday.
It marked McGill's sixth OUA East title in seven years, qualified the Redmen for a berth in the OUA's league championship game for the Queen's Cup next weekend and more importantly, earned the team a return trip to the CIS Cavendish University Cup championship in Fredericton, N.B., March 22-25, the same venue where they won a silver medal last spring.
McGill has now beaten the Patriotes for six consecutive playoff series after losing each of the first 11 series where they crossed paths.
It was also the ninth consecutive victory for McGill, which went 3-for-7 on the power-play, erased a 2-1 deficit in the second period and overcame a 4-3 deficit late in the final stanza.
Goaltender Hubert Morin, an engineering senior from St. Georges de Beauce, Que., made 45 saves for the Redmen, who were outshot 49-35, including an 11-0 margin in the first overtime, which was 10 minutes in duration.
Christophe Longpré-Poirier, a junior centre from Longueuil, Que., forced overtime when he beat Patriotes netminder Guillaume Nadeau with his third goal of the post-season, at 16:38 of the third period.
McGill missed an opportunity to win it during a power-play called in the first extra period but took full advantage of a five-minute power-play assed to the Pats when Pierre-Alexandre Joncas hammered Maxime Langelier-Parent into the boards from behind. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Redmen forward was "shaken but not stirred" on the play.
Wright, who had given McGill a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal at 6:59 of the third, chalked up another with the man-advantage during the major penalty when he jumped on a juicy rebound after a point shot by defenceman Marc-Andre Dorion of St. Hubert, Que., and beat Nadeau with a backhanded shot at 4:08 of the second extra period (14:08 of overtime).
"It was kind of a broken play," explained Wright, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound economics senior who has suddenly become very economical with his scoring touch. "The first shot (by Nicolas Biniek) was rebounded to the far side after the goalie made a pretty good save but we stuck with it. Then a one-timer from 'Dor', that didn't quite work out and I just tried to shovel the rebound toward the net cause I knew that we had a couple of guys there to bang it in. But it somehow found a way through."
Wright has now netted three goals in six playoff games after notching only four during the 28-game regular season. He has a history of peaking during the playoffs and owns a 14-24-38 record in 32 career post-season games over his four years.
"I told the guys as we were heading into both overtimes that there was no such thing as a bad shot in overtime," said Kelly Nobes, head coach of the Redmen. "Wrighty shot it towards he net and sure enough, it went in.
"Good for him, he's a fourth-year guy who stepped up and delivered," said Nobes. "His first goal was a nice one; it was on and off his stick right away. Then on the winner, he was in the slot, banged away at the puck and it went in off his backhand. He's put together two real good games now and has lots to build on moving forward. His confidence level should be high and he should be feeling good about his game heading into the Queen's Cup next and then the Nationals."
Other McGill marksmen were, Alexandre Picard-Hooper of Boucherville, Que., who gave the Redmen a 1-0 lead at 1:51 of the first period and Dorion, the two-time all-Canadian rearguard whose PP tally tied the game at 2-2 late in the second.
Team captain Evan Vossen collected three assists and the fifth-year senior from Swift Current, Sask., has now taken over the team playoff scoring lead with a 1-9-10 record in six games.
Replying for the Pats was Olivier Donovan, David Chabot-Maltais, Pierre-Alexandre Joncas and Emmanuel Boudreau, who put the Pats ahead 3-2 at 14:09 of the third frame.
The Redmen will defend their Queen's Cup title on the road next Saturday against the winner of the OUA West final between Western and Windsor. That series is tied at 1-1 and will be decided on Sunday.
UQTR's season is not yet over as they will host the OUA bronze medal game against the loser of the OUA West final. The bronze medalist will also earn a trip to the Nationals.
REDMEN RAP: The date marked the 137th anniversary of the first organized hockey game, which involved a number of McGill students on March 3, 1875 at Montreal's Victoria Skating Rink. Since the McGill team was formally organized two years later, they have only played seven times on the anniversary -- all against the Patriotes, with the Pats winning the first four meetings (1989, 1991, 1997, 2000) and McGill winning each of the last three. (2006, 2010, 2012). All three wins have taken place at UQTR and all were one-goal victories, two of them in double OT... McGill is now 15-6 in the last 22 meetings against the Pats and improved their lifetime mark to 69-144-17 in 230 confrontations with them overall... Among the few friendly faces in the hostile crowd was Luc Thiffeault, a star receiver on McGill's 1987 national champion football team.
(OUA EAST BEST-OF-THREE FINAL, GAME 3)
McGill 5 at UQTR 4 (2OT)
(Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Le Colisee)
GOALS BY PERIOD:
McGill 1-1-2-0-1 -- 5
UQTR 1-1-2-0-0 -- 4
1, McGill, Alexandre Picard-Hooper 1 (R.McKiernan, E.Vossen), 1:51.
2, UQTR, Olivier Donovan 5 (F.Petit, D.Chabot-Maltais), 14:29.
Hotte UQTR (roughing), 8:11;
Demers UQTR (slashing), 11:28.
3, UQTR, David Chabot-Maltais 1 (C.Bety, M.Robichaud), 13:44.
4, McGill, Marc-Andre Dorion 1 (H.Laporte, A.Picard-Hooper), 19:25 (PP).
Verreault-Paul Mcg (interference), 6:19;
Petit UQTR (hooking), 6:23;
Longpre-Poirier Mcg (inter. on goaltender), 7:07;
Levesque Mcg (checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct), 11:11;
Breton UQTR (hooking), 19:17.
5, McGill, Andrew Wright 2 (E.Vossen, C,Longpre-Poirier), 6:59 (PP).
6, UQTR, Pierre-Alexandre Joncas 4 (P.L.Lessard, O.Donovan), 13:24 (PP).
7, UQTR, Emmanuel Boudreau 1 (O.Ouellet), 14:09.
8, McGill, Christophe Longpre-Poirier 3 (E.Vossen, H.Genest), 16:38.
Boudreau UQTR (high sticking), 5:56;
M.Langelier-Parent Mcg (tripping), 13:16;
Joncas UQTR (roughing after the whistle), 14:20.
1st OVERTIME (10:00)
Demers UQTR (tripping), 8:53.
2nd OVERTIME (20:00)
9, McGill, Andrew Wright 3 (N.Biniek, M.A.Dorion), 4:08 (PP).
Joncas UQTR (major-check from behind, game misconduct), 2:33.
Shots on Goal-
McGill 8-11-12-1-3 -- 35.
UQTR 10-13-15-11-0 -- 49.
Power Play Opportunities-
McGill 3 / 7;
UQTR 1 / 4.
McGill 5 / 18;
UQTR 9 / 19.
McGill, Hubert Morin (W, 6-0-0, 49 shots-45 saves; 74:08).
UQTR, Guillaume Nadeau (L, 4-4-0, 35 shots-30 saves; 74:08).
Start: 7:10 PM
Game Status: 10:00 PM
Referees-Pierre Lambert, Peter Moraitis.
Linesmen-Guillaume Labonté, Benoit Martineau.
1. MCG - 19 Andrew Wright
2. UQTR - 47 Olivier Donovan
3. MCG - 11 Evan Vossen
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