The Gee-Gees men's hockey team beat the Concordia Stingers 7-2 on Saturday night in Montreal, winning their OUA East Final series 2-0. The win advances Ottawa to the Queen's Cup Final and secures them a spot at the 2020 U SPORTS National Championship.
"So much goes into this win, we've been building this since day one," said Gee-Gees head coach Patrick Grandmaître. "All of the credit goes to our players. This is a dream team to coach. They soak it in, they listen, and they put it into play. What a bunch of guys."
Concordia opened the scoring in a wild first period. The Stingers sellout home crowd were in full voice, but they were quickly silenced by an individual effort from Yvan Mongo and a snipe from Quinn O'Brien. The Stingers tied the game before the intermission.
The second period featured fast, intense hockey as the Gee-Gees took the lead. A long shot from Kevin Domingue eluded netminder Kyle Jessiman. The Stingers continued to press, but Ottawa found some breathing room when Brendan Jacome jammed one in from a bounce off the end boards.
The Gee-Gees put the game to bed within the first minute of the third. Domingue scored his second after a perfect cross-ice feed from Cody Drover on the powerplay. Nicolas Mattinen followed up with a goal of his own off an odd-man rush.
A Mongo empty netter combined with stellar goaltending down the stretch from Domenic Graham gave Ottawa a commanding win. Graham was stellar throughout the game, steering aside 33 shots. His playoff save percentage is now .934 and the team's goal-against average is 1.99, the lowest in the conference.
"It was just a full team buy-in," said Gee-Gees captain Quinn O'Brien. "It's hard to put into words. This is something we've been trying for since year one and now it's finally happening. It's exceptional."
"Right from day one when I was hired, a bunch of alumni stepped up and made some donations," said Grandmaître. "It really setup the backbone of this team with good scholarships and good academics. The families of the players, the family of the staff, my family – people are just really trusting the brand that we've built.
"It's amazing. Our guys feel the support and feel there are people behind them. It's not a pressure, it's a sense of love and appreciation for what they do."
Ottawa players now lead each major offensive category in the OUA this postseason. Drover, Mattinen and Domingue lead the OUA with ten points each, Domingue's seven goals are the most and Mattinen's eight assists are tops as well.
Special teams were a factor, as Concordia took 14 penalties in the series and the Gee-Gees made them pay four times. Ottawa's powerplay is now at 26.8% for the postseason and the Garnet and Grey went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill Saturday.
Queen's Cup Final: details to come.
This will be the Gee-Gees first appearance at the National Championship since 2004. This year's tournament runs from March 12-15 in Halifax.