Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kill McGill live blog

The fourth-oldest hockey rivalry in Canada is featured prominently tonight, with Queen's taking on the McGill Redmen. Things just got underway here in Kingston at the Memorial Centre, and the game's already heated: a Queen's forward collided with McGill's starting goalie, Jake Jarvis, and one of their defencemen early on and the whole tangle slid into the boards, sparking a bit of a dustup. Jarvis hobbled off afterwards favouring his arm and was replaced by rookie Danny Mireault.

(Correction: LeagueStats indicates that it was Hubert Morin who was the original goalie, not Jarvis).

First period

14:00: We're six minutes into the first period now and it's been pretty even so far. Plenty of checks and big hits, and some strong penalty killing from McGill. Queen's looked all right on the power-play chances they've had so far, but they couldn't produce a goal and we're back to five-on-five.

11:43: The Gaels are going on the power play again. Brandon Perry was taken down in the corner, and the Redmen pick up a hooking penalty.

10: McGill is again doing a nice job of penalty killing. The Gaels' shoot-ins are cleared almost immediately, and the Redmen even get a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush. It comes to naught thanks to a bad pass, though.

9:24: McGill gets a power play and they waste no time. Veteran defenceman Ken Morin drills home a slapshot from the point. 1-0 McGill.

8:16: Another after-the-whistle scrum breaks out in the McGill end, and Gaels' forward Brock Ouellet gets his helmet knocked off. He and McGill's Yan Turcotte are both sent to the sin bin.

CFL update: Calgary hung on to beat B.C. 22-18. I'll have a full post on that later tonight at Out of Left Field.

5: Not too much going on offensively for either side here, but still plenty of hits. Good atmosphere: there's around 100 McGill fans who made the trip down, and probably 200-300 from Queen's. All are quite into the game, which is good to see.

2: Another power play for Queen's thanks to a penalty to Turcotte, and they get some good chances. Defenceman Brendan Bureau blasts a slap shot from the faceoff circle, but Mireau makes a nice save. McGill kills the rest of the penalty off.

1: Queen's forward Jeffrey Johnstone picks up a penalty, and McGill is back on the power play. Queen's kills off the first part of it as the period comes to an end.

Second period:
19: Queen's kills off the rest of the penalty and we're back to five-on-five.

17: Morin turns it over in his own zone and Queen's gets a two-on-one, but they can't get a shot off.

16: Johnstone takes another penalty for slashing. McGill power play.

15: Queen's forward Brandon Perry steals the puck in McGill's end and walks in alone shorthanded, but his shot misses the top left corner by a good foot and sails wide.

14: Queen's kills off the rest of the penalty, but McGill gets another chance soon after when a Marc-Andre Daneau shot is deflected towards a scrum in front of the net. Gaels' goalie Brady Morrison makes a nice diving play to cover the loose puck.

This Don Campbell profile of Queen's assistant coach (and former NHL star) Alyn McCauley in the Ottawa Citizen is well worth a read. I spoke with McCauley briefly after a Queen's game earlier this year, and I was impressed; he's obviously got a lot of hockey knowledge, but my sense was that he can also communicate it, an important quality in any coach.

11: The Gaels get another two-on-one from Blake Pronk and David Chubb, but Mireault makes a good stop on Pronk to preserve his shutout.

9: Still plenty of physical play here. Queen's is getting chances off the rush, but not a lot of shots.

8: Good chance for McGill in close and Morrison has to make a sprawling stop.

7: McGill's Alexandre Picard-Hooper bangs a loose puck home. 2-0 McGill.

6: And McGill follows it up with another nice one. I believe it was forward Leonard Verrilli who drilled home a one-timer from the slot while being checked to the ice by a Queen's defenceman. Good goal for the Redmen, and it's now 3-0 McGill. The pro-Gaels crowd is noticeably quieter now; I wouldn't be surprised to see the building empty out a bit after this period.

Gaels update: Well, men's hockey might be losing, but the women's volleyball team pulled off a straight-sets win at home tonight against the Lakehead Thunderwolves.

NHL update: Canucks are leading the Leafs 4-0 at the end of the second period on Hockey Night in Canada. Good to see that at least one West Coast team had a good day. The Lions, not so much.

2: McGill's Serbian forward Marko Kovacevic gets a good chance in close, but Morrison makes a nice save to deny him.

1: McGill's Maxime Langelier-Parent takes a holding penalty with 13 seconds left to go; Queen's will be on the power play to start the third period.

That's the end of the second, and it doesn't loook too good for the Gaels. Attendance is announced at 920, which may be a little optimistic, but not by too much: more people have trickled in since I gave the initial figures earlier. That's a pretty decent turnout for an off-campus hockey game, especially given that the Leafs are playing right now and the CFL West final also ran into this time slot.

Hilarious intermission contest; obstacle-course racing, and the McGill guy wins. The Queen's student managed to miss six shots at an empty net from the top of the faceoff circle. Usually, there's a joke available about how the losing home team should sign one of these contestants, but not tonight.

Third period:

19: Queen's starts on the power play, but they aren't able to create much off it. McGill kills the rest of the penalty off without the Gaels really even getting a good chance.

18: Shot totals through two periods: McGill 23, Queen's 12.

17: It's not really that surprising that McGill's doing so well in this one. Yeah, they're 2-4-1 on the year, but they beat Queen's 4-1 just last week. Part of that record is a slow start for the Redmen; another part of it is the quality of their division. Their overtime loss is to the 10-1 UQTR Patriotes (on Nov. 5) and several other losses have been close ones against good teams like Carleton and Concordia. Meanwhile, Queen's is 5-5-2 and tied for the division lead, but that's with wins over some weaker opponents like Ryerson and UOIT.

15: McGill penalty to forward Andrew Wright. Queen's power play gets another chance: let's see what they do with it.

13: Queen's sets up well this time and passes the puck around, but the Gaels then succumb to Canuck-itis and fail to get many good shots off. McGill kills off the penalty.

12: Well, one good sign is that the arena's still largely full, contrary to my previous prediction. Nice to see some decent fan support; it's not all that common these days.

12: Picard-Hooper walks in alone on goal, but Morrison makes a nice save.

11: McGill eventually jams a puck by Morrison after a protracted scramble in front, but the goal's disallowed.

11: Special teams are not helping the Gaels this game. According to LeagueStats, they're 0-6 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill.

9: Five-minute penalty and a game misconduct to Brock Ouellet, served by Jarrod Thomson (and no, not that J. Thomson. That probably kills Queen's chances of any comeback.

8: Johnstone takes another penalty, giving McGill over a minute of a 5-on-3 advantage.

6: Queen's defends well though, and kills off Johnstone's penalty. Morrison had to make a few good saves, but decent penalty killing this time around.

5: These guys really have to learn to stop taking bad penalties though. It probably didn't make a difference here, but it killed their comeback hopes, however faint they were. More discipline is needed.

5: McGill gets a good power-play chance when a Kovacevic shot is tipped in front by Sam Bloom, but Morrison makes a nice save.

4: NHL update: Now Vancouver 4, Toronto 1, but that should still be a safe lead. 4 minutes left in that one too.

3: McGill gets a great chance on a one-timer, but Guillame Doucet fires wide from the slot.

3: Starting to run out of power here, so I'll have to shut this down pretty quick. Should have some post-game thoughts and reaction up later tonight or early tomorrow though.

3: Another scrum after the whistle, and Langelier-Parent gets into a fight with Johnstone. More of a shoving match than anything, though. There's plenty of passion here for this rivalry, and the Queen's guys must be frustrated to lose to McGill yet again.

2: It's offsetting penalties, so no change there. Thought Queen's had the extra one for a moment.

1: McGill's fans are doing the classic "Na, Na, Hey, Goodbye" serenade, and we'll shut it down on that note. The game comes to an end. Final score, McGill 3, Queen's 0. Thanks for tuning in.

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