(Benoit Levesque tallied the game-winner against Queen's. Photo by Derek Drummond)
MONTREAL -- Benoit Levesque, a sophomore from Vaudreuil, Que., capped a three-goal rally with the eventual game-winner at 6:43 of the second period as the No.2-ranked McGill men's hockey team skated to a 3-2 victory over Queen's in the opening game of the OUA East quarter-finals at McConnell Arena, Wednesday.
McGill, which has won 20 consecutive games over their rivals from Kingston, Ont., leads the best-of-three series 1-0.
The Redmen appeared sluggish at times but had a 32-21 edge in shots. McGill went 1-for-2 on the power-play, while snuffing out all three man-advantage situations for Queen’s.
“Obviously we’re pleased to win the first game of the series but we can be a lot better than we were tonight and the boys know it,” said an unusually tight-lipped Kelly Nobes, head coach of the Redmen, who won his 200th career game as a CIS head coach and was presented with the official game puck afterwards by team captain Evan Vossen. Nobes now owns a combined 200-184-13 record with RMC, Laurier and McGill, including a 59-16-2 mark at McGill (10-2 in playoffs).
“I expect us to be much better on Friday in Kingston. That’s all I’ve got to say about our effort tonight.”
Jonathan Lawrance of Steinbach, Man., opened the scoring for the Gaels at 5:59 of the first period but McGill roared back with markers from defenceman Ryan McKiernan of White Plains, N.Y., at 15:33 and Christophe Longpre-Poirier of Longueuil, Que., at 17:44.
Five minutes after Levesque gave the Redmen a 3-1 lead early in the middle stanza, Gaels forward Jordan Mirwaldt of Winnipeg made it 3-2.
McGill netminder Hubert Morin, a senior from St. Georges de Beauce, Que., registered 19 saves for the win. Gaels veteran Riley Whitlock, a native of Calgary, made 29 saves and took the loss.
Game 2 is slated for the Kingston Memorial Centre on Friday at 7:20 p.m. The Redmen have won nine straight games at Queen’s since a 4-3 setback on Nov. 9, 2003. They are 3-1 lifetime in post-season play against the Gaels and haven’t lost a playoff encounter to them in over a century, dating back to an 8-2 decision in Ottawa on March 7, 1910.
If a rubber match is needed, it will be back at McConnell Arena on Sunday at 7 p.m.
REDMEN RAP: McGill improved to 24-11-1 overall on the season... Seven of their victories have been by identical 3-2 scores... The McGill-Queen’s series is the third oldest hockey rivalry in North America and the Redmen improved their all-time series record to 114-50-2 lifetime since the two archrivals first hooked up back in 1895... The only older rivalries on record are Queen’s-RMC (1886) and McGill-RMC (1892).
OUA Conference Quarter-Finals (Best-of-Three)
Lakehead 4 at Guelph 5 (Guelph leads series 1-0.)
Queen's 2 at McGill 3 (McGill leads series 1-0.)
Trois-Rivieres 2 at Ryerson 9 (Ryerson leads series 1-0.)
Nipissing 2 at Ottawa 5 (Ottawa leads series 1-0.)
Toronto 2 at Carleton 6 (Carleton leads series 1-0.)
OUA EAST QUARTER-FINAL, Game 1,
Queen's 2 at McGill 3
(Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - McConnell Arena)
GOALS BY PERIOD:
Queen's 1-1-0 -- 2
McGill 2-1-0 -- 3
1, Queen's, Jonathan Lawrance 1 (B.Munroe, T.Moore), 5:59.
2, McGill, Ryan McKiernan 1 (M.A.Dorion, E.Vossen), 15:33 (PP).
3, McGill, Christophe Longpre-Poirier 1 (N.Biniek, H.Genest), 17:44.
Pianosi Qns (hooking), 9:06;
Picard-Hooper Mcg (roughing), 10:51;
Soquila Qns (hooking), 13:41.
4, McGill, Benoit Levesque 1 (M.A.Daneau, M.A.Dorion), 6:43.
5, Queen's, Jordan Mirwaldt 1 (J.Lawrance), 11:40.
Chabot Qns (roughing), 11:59;
Daneau Mcg (roughing), 11:59;
Genest Mcg (roughing), 12:18;
Longpre-Poirier Mcg (cross checking), 17:49;
Lawrance Qns (slashing), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-
Queen's 5-12-4 -- 21.
McGill 14-10-8 -- 32.
Power Play Opportunities-
Queen's 0 / 3;
McGill 1 / 2.
Queen's 4 / 8;
McGill 4 / 8.
Queen's, Riley Whitlock (L, 0-1, 32 shots-29 saves; 59:05).
McGill, Hubert Morin (W, 1-0-0, 21 shots-19 saves; 60:00).
Linesmen-Maxime Chaput & Jonathan Alarie.
MOLSON THREE STARS
1. Benoit Levesque, McGill
2. Marc-Andre Dorion, McGill
3. Jonathan Lawrance, Queen's
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