The Gee-Gees men's rugby team finished their regular season on a winning note and kept their playoff hopes alive with a 41-21 victory over the Sherbrooke Vert & Or Sunday afternoon at Gee-Gees Field.
Jamie Armstrong scored two tries, while Nat Maginnis accounted for 16 points in a convincing win.
"This was the strongest lineup we've put out," said head coach Stephanie Crawley. "We finally struck the right balance between injuries, experience and getting the right people in the right places at the right time. We stayed composed – it was a gritty game, so it was good to come out of it without too many penalties."
Ottawa got off to a hot start. Team captain Conrad Hladik scored less than five minutes into the match, plunging into the end zone from close range. The Gee-Gees followed it up with another try five minutes later, as Brody Rawding plowed in for five points.
A pair of Maginnis penalty kicks gave the Gee-Gees a 20-7 lead at halftime.
William Redgate continued the onslaught for the Garnet and Grey in the second half, scoring his first try of the year in the 48th minute.
Redgate then combined with Armstrong, setting the latter up for two lengthy runs down the right flank. Armstrong found pay dirt on both occasions, giving Ottawa an insurmountable lead and an important bonus point in the standings for scoring four or more tries in a single match.
"The fullback, Will Redgate, made great plays tucking the man in and all I had to do was run," said Armstrong, a first-year economics student from Ottawa. "It feels really good. The boys worked hard, and I think we deserved this one."
Ottawa earned five points in the standings with the victory (four for the win and the one bonus point), moving themselves into third place in the RSEQ standings. They wrap up their regular season with a 3-3 record.
"We came together," said Crawley. "We have a young team, so it's taken us some time to get our groove and get our positions and timing right. We're in-sync now and getting ready to go into playoffs."
The top four teams make the playoffs, with the Gee-Gees sitting three points ahead of the Université de Montréal and four points clear of the Bishop's Gaiters.
Both Montréal and Bishop's have a game remaining on their respective schedules, but the former are facing the second-place McGill team, while Bishop's are playing the Concordia Stingers, the undefeated defending champions of the conference who have not lost a game since 2016. Ottawa also holds the tiebreaker over the Gaiters by virtue of their 28-12 victory in late September.
Ottawa will await the results of next week's games to see if they can make the playoffs for the first time since entering the RSEQ last year.
Sherbrooke (1-4) close out their season against École de Technologie Supérieure on Sunday, October 27.