Sports | Seeing red

The hockey Red-emption story that fell just short

After a 2012-13 season that saw the Redmen lose in the quarterfinals to Nipissing, changes were made to redeem the team and get back to its former championship glory in 2011-12. Even with the new players filling the squad, the Redmen fell short of their goal of a national title, as they lost to University of Alberta in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) University Cup Championship. Although they made it to nationals, beating out Concordia, Université du Québec à Trois Rivières (UQTR), and Carleton, the hope that their changes in the off-season would prove championship- worthy was not met.

After clinching back-to-back sweeps against Concordia and UQTR to qualify for the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East finals, the Redmen faced their first test. The Redmen dropped their first game 5-2 to first-seeded Carleton. Game two, back on home ice, was a slim 3-2 victory for the Redmen. Finally, the Redmen claimed the East title in game 3 with a nail- biting 2-1 win. However, the Redmen eventually lost 3-2 to Windsor in the OUA Queen’s Cup Championship Game. Before this season, players such as 6’3” ft Neal Prokop were brought in to give size and a scoring punch. Prokop finished with 28 points in 44 games. Coach Kelly Nobes also brought in goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard to solidify the goaltending duo alongside incumbent Andrew Fleming. Gervais-Chouniard stole the job with a a marvelous season, posting a 20-8-1 record along with a 2.37 goals against average (GAA) and .923 save percentage. Ryan McKiernan lead the Redmen in points as a defencemen in the regular season, posting 37 points in 28 games.

One of the big changes that paid off in tremendous fashion was the improvement of the offence. After a year that saw the Redmen score a mere 88 goals, this season the Redmen potted 126 in the back of the net. This was good enough to tie them for third in team scoring in the CIS. Leading scorer from last year Patrick Delisle-Houde improved on his totals from 24 points in 26 games at an over point-per-game pace to finish with 30 points in 28 games. Look for the second-year sniper to continue to improve in the following years as he gets acclimated to his surroundings. He has the potential to be a top- tier goal scorer in this league.

There are many positives to take from this year. Offensively, the Redmen were a dominating force to be reckoned with, as they were second in the league in team scoring. Goaltending was a wall, as Gervais-Chouinard led the way, backed up by the formidable Fleming. The squad was defensively sound, even getting a good amount of offence from the defensive core, particularly McKiernan.

Overall, the team improved drastically from the year before. However, at the end of the day, the glorious taste of redemption was not to be found. As retired football coach Herm Edwards once emphatically said, “You play to win the game!” The Redmen will be looking to bring Edwards’ words to life as they search for that final redemption they so desperately desire in the 2014-15 season: a championship.