Carleton Ravens, Ottawa Gee-Gees have playoff date in men’s university hockey
OTTAWA — Forget the Battle of Ontario, which hasn’t been good for years, welcome to the Battle of Ottawa … university style.
On Wednesday night, the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees will meet for not only Ottawa bragging rights in men’s hockey, but also a berth in the Ontario University Athletics Eastern Conference final.
“I’m sure it’s going to generate more interest than if we were playing a different team. We’re certainly looking for any excitement we can get in the building and any excitement we can get for our brand of hockey,” said Ravens coach Marty Johnston, whose team swept the Queen’s Gaels in their opening-round series with victories of 10-2 and 2-1.
“We’re all excited about and it should be good,” Gee-Gees coach Réal Paiement added.
“It’s also going to be great for the city. Anybody who has been to CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) hockey knows the level and because we’re cross-town rivals, it’s going to be an even higher level.”
The Gee-Gees bookended 3-2 double-overtime wins around a 4-0 loss to take their quarterfinal series from the Toronto Varsity Blues in three games.
Although they are cross-town rivals, there is no recent playoff history for the two clubs as they haven’t met in the postseason since the Ravens rejoined the league six years ago. There is also no very recent regular-season history either as the two haven’t played since Nov. 16 when the Ravens were 6-3 winners on home ice.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played each other, but it’s playoff time, so I think both teams know what’s at stake,” Johnston said.
The Ravens were 5-2 winners at the U of O on Oct. 21 and five days later the Gee-Gees returned the favour with a 5-2 win at Carleton.
So far in this postseason, the Ravens have been led by Jeff Hayes and his five points as well as the four contributed by Michael Folkes.
Luc Blain and Mathieu Tanguay-Theriault each have had two-goal games during these playoffs for the Gee-Gees, and both of their second goals have been overtime winners.
In typical fashion, both coaches were sure to praise the accomplishments of their opposition rather than deliver any motivational reading for the other sides’ bulletin boards.
Of course, they were accurate in their assessments.
“I think Carleton has been the best team in the league the last two years and I think this year they’ve really come into their own,” Paiement said. “For us it’s going to be a big challenge and definitely help our program grow just to play them.”
“I’m sure there will be emotion involved, so it will be a matter of our team trying to stick to our game plan and I’m sure it will be the same for them,” he said. “It’s going to take 60 minutes or more of focus to details. I think they’re a team that has gotten better and better as the year has gone on. They have very good depth and we’re going to have to be patient and play our style and know that we’re going to be in a tight-checking game.”
Game 1 is Wednesday at Carleton (7 p.m.), while Game 2 switches to the University of Ottawa on Friday night. Should a Game 3 be required, it will be back at Carleton on Sunday night.
The UQTR Patriotes and Nipissing Lakers meet in the other semifinal. The Patriotes swept the Ryerson Rams in two games while the Lakers upset the McGill Redmen with a 2-1 win in Game 3 on Sunday at Montreal.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen