OTTAWA, Ont. (from UOIT Ridgebacks) – For the second straight year UOIT will square off against the Concordia Stingers in the opening round of the OUA men’s hockey playoffs.
Game one of the series will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 14 in Oshawa at 7:30 p.m. with games two and three (if necessary) set for Montreal.
Last year, the Stingers won their first playoff series in 17 years beating the Ridgebacks in three games. This year in conference play they split the season series, each winning on home ice.
There was a lot of moving and shaking in the OUA eastern conference standings in the final night of conference play with only McGill (first) and Nipissing (seventh) knowing where they would finish before the games started.
UOIT (15-9-4) ended up in sixth place after a 4-3 overtime loss to the fifth place Ottawa Gee-Gees (16-8-4). Concordia (18-7-3) leapfrogged Carleton (17-8-3) for third place.
Laurentian (10-17-1), who dropped a 5-1 decision to UOIT on Friday, rebounded with a 5-2 win over RMC (7-16-5) to lock up the eighth and final playoff position.
In Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss, Stouffville-native Mike Robinson tied the UOIT single season goals record as he recorded his 17th of the season. He tied Josh Vatri who established the record in 2008-09.
Ben Blasko (Kingston, Ont.) who broke Vatri’s points record, added one more goal to his totals as he wrapped up the year with 35 points (10 G, 25 A). Kyle Locke (Aurora, Ont.) was the other goal scorer for UOIT, notching his second goal of the year.
UOIT fell behind 2-0 just eight minutes in on goals by Quinn O’Brien and Cody Drover but managed to come back with three unanswered goals. Ottawa pulled off a comeback of their own as Mathieu Newcomb tied things up with 1:10 left to go in the game, followed up with Jacob Sweeney scoring the winner with 26 seconds remaining in the extra frame.
“We’ve been playing well. I think we can match up well against any team,” said Gee-Gees head coach Patrick Grandmaître. “Our guys are starting to believe it and playing the right way. Everyone is chipping in and we don’t rely on one person.”
Tyson Teichmann (Belleville, Ont.) ended up with 23 saves in the loss.
UOIT’s power play was 2-for-7 and Concordia was 1-for-6. The Ridgeback penalty killers had a tremendous year as they ranked third in the OUA with an 86.5 penalty kill percentage.
The Ridgebacks have qualified for the postseason in six straight seasons. This also marks the third straight year UOIT has finished with 15 wins or more.