Late penalty costs Ravens versus cross-town rivals
By: Jeff Krever
The Carleton University Ravens men’s hockey team fell 3-2 in a heated battle with the uOttawa Gee-Gees, marking their third straight loss at the Ice House.
Dominic Jalbert (Gatineau, Que.) scored what turned out to be the game-winner with an empty net goal in the final minute of the game, while Russel Abbott (Mill Bay, B.C.) earned each of the 28 saves he made in the win.
Ravens’ head coach Marty Johnston applauded his team’s effort, but says it needs to win the battles on special teams.
“We have to find ways to win,” said Johnston. “We have to generate more offense than we have in the last five or six games, we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and try to get more pucks to the net and get more traffic and get more rebounds.”
On a night where defenceman Tim Billingsley (Ottawa) and centre Andrew Glass (Boston, Mass.) made their debuts, in the first period it was the goaltenders who stole the show, with Abbott and Dopud exchanging impressive saves throughout a scoreless opening frame.
In the second the Gee-Gees looked to get the game’s first goal with a power play opportunity on a slash by Andrew Self (Peterborough, Ont.), but it was the Ravens getting the biggest chance when Joe Pleckaitis (Ottawa) got behind the defense a shorthanded breakaway, but Abbott denied the second-year forward with a right pad save.
The Ravens survived a furious uOttawa counter attack, with Dopud sliding cross-crease to make two impressive saves, keeping the score even.
But even with the power play over, the Gee-Gees continued to press. Paul Forster (North Vancouver, B.C.) opened the scoring for uOttawa when he buried a rebound past a sprawling Dopud on a scramble play in front, giving the Gee-Gees a one-goal edge.
After failing to convert a power play early in the third period, coach Marty Johnston left it to his scrappy checking line to provide the offense the Ravens needed.
With a pileup of bodies in front and Abbott fighting to cover the loose puck, Linden Bahm (Kinburn, Ont.) used his strength to bury the tying goal. Bahm’s fifth of the year sent the Ice House crowd into frenzy, while the Gee-Gees argued that the puck was covered.
Abbott received attention from the trainer for what appeared to be a hand injury, but remained in the game for uOttawa.
With Dopud and Abbott dueling back-and-forth with one big save after another, the turning point came with minutes left in the game, when Brad Albert received a questionable call for interference after being challenged in the corner of the Ravens’ zone.
“It’s hard for me to see from that vantage point, but I thought there were some things happening out there and at that time of the game I was a little bit disappointed with the call,” said Johnston.
Dopud fought traffic in front to make key saves early, helping the Ravens kill off the initial penalty, but they were never able to regroup. Maxime Chamberland (Chateauguay, Que.) beat Dopud upstairs on a two-on-one down low, giving the Gee-Gees the tie-breaking goal with just 1:44 remaining.
Before the Ravens could respond with any pressure, the dangerous Jalbert scored his seventh of the year into the empty net on a clearing attempt.
Pleckaitis scored with 13 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late as Carleton couldn’t muster up any more scoring chances.
With the loss the Ravens fall to 2-1-0 in the season series again their cross-town rivals, although that record may not be all it appears. Contests from Oct. 29 – a 4-2 loss, and Oct. 21 – a 2-1 shootout win, were reversed after the league ruled that the Gee-Gees were in violation of league rules by playing a suspended player, Jon Carnevale (Beaverton, Ont.)
The results were changed to a pair of 2-0 wins for Carleton, making a difference of five points in the OUA East standings.
Carleton will get a chance to end a four-game losing streak on Friday, Jan. 6 when Johnston’s Ravens pay a visit to UQTR. Puck drops at 7p.m.
Notes: Mike Lomas, who was expected to return to the lineup after Christmas, did not play as he continues to nurse an injury. Johnston says expect to see him back within the next few games.