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Lakers double Redmen in heated playoff affair

An after-the-whistle face washing happened at almost every whistle of this contest, as the Lakers/Redmen rivalry heats up. Photo by Mark Pare.

An after-the-whistle face washing happened at almost every whistle of this contest, as the Lakers/Redmen rivalry heats up. Photo by Mark Pare.

The Nipissing Lakers built up a 2-0 first period lead and held on for a 4-2 win over the McGill Redmen in Game 1 of the OUA East Division quarter-final at Memorial Gardens on Wednesday night.

Connor O’Donnell, Matt Paton, Vern Cooper and Brogan Bailey scored the goals for the Lakers.

“It’s massive,” Bailey said of the win, “We knew we didn’t want to travel to Montreal down a game. When we have everyone working hard and pulling in the same direction, we are tough to beat.”

“It was a playoff game, both teams wanted to win, both teams disliked each other.” said Lakers head coach Mike McParland.

It was a heated, penalty filled affair with 26 penalties dished out between the 2 teams in the feisty playoff opener.

“We had an optimal start, that’s for sure,” said McParland, “I thought that the refereeing was a little bit mull at times tonight, both ways, you know, not a bad influence on the game but I thought that took the flow out of the game. I thought, perhaps, he could have handed out a couple 10-minute misconducts early and that would’ve maybe stopped all that stuff but there was no real good flow in the game and that was unfortunate.”

The Lakers received the brunt of those calls, as the Redmen had 12 power play opportunities in the game. They didn’t score on any of them, while the Lakers went one for seven on the man advantage.

“We had meetings this week and I designated seven or eight players that I expected to be in their face and play hard for us, that are capable of it,”said McParland, “I think this year, we have maybe more guys that can do that kind of stuff and they did it, maybe a bit more than I wanted but they answered the call, that’s for sure.”

Dan Spence made 36 saves in his second victory in two weeks over the defending CIS National Champions. Hubert Morin made 32 saves in the loss for the loss.

“I think it was great,” said McParland of getting in front early on the Redmen, “When they were here (on Feb. 2), we threw almost 50 shots at him (Morin) and we scored once so it’s big to score two goals right off the bat.”

The Lakers two goal lead started out from some usual suspects. Dorian Peca put the shootout winner in against McGill in the home season finale and he set up O’Donnell, who put it by Morin at 1:26.

At 9:00, the Lakers went on a partial three-on-two and after a Kevin Rebello shot was stopped, Paton was right in the crease area and tucked in a rebound between Morin’s legs.

The Redmen cut into the lead with just over a minute played in the second. A pass up front to Max Le Sieur and he put a shot five hole on Spence.

The Lakers regained the two goal cushion at 12:09, a power play opportunity that Cooper capitalized on, taking control of another juicy rebound.

The physical play was quite apparent in the second period and the Redmen pushed and shoved their way to the net and it paid off at 17:56, as Mathieu Pompei put one by Spence before piling over him and the net.

That would prove to be as close as the Redmen would get in this one as Bailey added insurance at 3:14 of the third, a good hard shift that finished with him getting a shot off that Morin saved, but went right back to Bailey and he made no mistake the second time to round the scoring.

“Brogan blocked about three shots tonight, played great,” said McParland, “Scored the goal, missed another break away, could’ve put the game away so he’s a gamer. He’s a leader, that’s for sure.”

The Lakers can close out the series in Montreal on Saturday night. If the Redmen win Game 2, the third and deciding game will be played on Sunday night in Montreal.

“I don’t think we have to change too much,” said McParland of their game Saturday night, “What we have to do is stay clever, we can’t run around and take penalties like we did tonight.”

If the Lakers advance to the second round, keep checking for updates on scheduling.

Game Notes
-The attendance was 1,113.