The University of Ottawa men's hockey team will have their hands full this weekend, as they take on two of the OUA's hottest teams on the road. The Gee-Gees will be in Montreal on Friday, January 17 to face McGill (12-6-1) and then return to Ottawa to meet their cross-town rivals, the Carleton Ravens (18-3-1) at the Ice House.
McGill are unbeaten in their first three contests of 2020, while Carleton enters as winners of four of their last five games, their lone loss coming to McGill.
"We've seen McGill three times this year already, and Carleton twice. I'm not expecting surprises, we know what we need to do," said head coach Patrick Grandmaître. "Most importantly will be sticking to our game plan for a full 60 minutes, and ensuring our emotions don't stray too high or too low."
The Garnet and Grey offence came into the new year on fire, recording 19 goals through their first three games, thanks to a thrilling 8-7 overtime loss to Concordia and commanding wins over RMC and UQTR.
The offence dried up for Ottawa in their last game though, as they fell 4-1 to UQTR in the second half of their back-to-back on Sunday.
The offence was by committee for the Gee-Gees thus far in the second half, but three players in particular have been enjoying tremendous offensive seasons.
However, the most impressive offensive campaign belongs to Dominic Cormier. The rookie rearguard leads all OUA defencemen with 17 assists – seven of which have come in the first four games of 2020 – and he is second among d-men with 20 points.
"We're ready for any team," said Cormier. "We showed last weekend we can play with anyone, [UQTR] is a great team. Any team in this league can play with each other. We've just gotta do what we gotta do and we'll come out victorious."
Ottawa clinched a playoff berth with their 5-1 victory on Saturday – coincidently, marking the second straight season that they were guaranteed a playoff spot on January 11. Playoff positioning is still very much at stake though, as the Gee-Gees find themselves in a tight race with UQTR and McGill for second place in the OUA East.
Carleton sits atop the conference with 37 points, seven points clear of the Gee-Gees while having played one more game.
When the Gee-Gees take to the ice at McConnell Arena in Montreal, it will be a battle of the league's two best penalty kills. Ottawa currently sits at 91.7 percent and McGill isn't far behind at 90.8, having conceded just once on the man advantage in their last nine contests.
The last time the Garnet and Grey faced their hated cross-town rivals, Carleton mounted a furious comeback. The Ravens trailed 2-0 entering the final frame of the Colonel By Classic, but tallied four times in the third to stun the Gee-Gees 4-2.
For in-game updates, follow @GeeGeesMHKY on Twitter. The games will be streamed on oua.tv. Tickets to all Gee-Gees home games are available at tickets.geegees.ca.