McGill Redmen spotted the Queen’s Golden Gaels a two-goal first-period lead before rallying Saturday for a 3-2 Ontario University Athletics hockey victory in Montreal.
It was McGill’s 31st consecutive win over Queen’s in a streak that dates to 2004, and this one followed what has become a familiar pattern, with the Redmen scoring the game-winning goal late in the game.
This time, it was Mathieu Pompei’s second goal of the game, his 17th of the year, that broke a 2-2 tie with less than four minutes remaining in the third period.
Earlier this year, when the teams played in Kingston, the Redmen scored twice in the last five minutes to gain a 3-2 win. A year ago, also in Kingston, McGill scored with 14 seconds left in the third period for a 4-3 win.
The Gaels were eliminated in the semifinals of 2015 when the Redmen scored three times in the final seven minutes to win 3-1.
Saturday’s game was barely a minute old when Andrew Wiebe scored his second goal in as many nights to give Queen’s an early lead. A power-play goal by Patrick McGillis two minutes later, with Wiebe drawing an assist, sent the Gaels into the second period with a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the rink, goaltender Kevin Bailie, coming off a 39-save shutout against No. 9-ranked Carleton the night before, stopped all 21 shots McGill shooters sent his way in the opening 20 minutes, and he kept the sixth-ranked Redmen at bay until Dominic Talbot-Tassi scored at 11:42 of the second period. Six minutes later, Pompei tied the score with his first goal of the game.
Queen’s killed two penalties in the first seven minutes of third period, including a stretch of 26 seconds when the Gaels were two men short. Queen’s had its opportunity on the power play later, when two McGill penalties overlapped to give the Gaels almost a minute with a two-man advantage, but the Gaels could not capitalize.
Not long after the Redmen went ahead, Eric Ming was penalized and Queen’s had to play most of the rest of the game shorthanded.
Queen’s, 1-for-6 on the power play, was outshot 56-28, including 16-8 in the third period. Despite making 53 saves, Bailie was tagged with the loss.
The defeat ended a three-game winning streak for the Gaels, who slipped to 14-7-1 and remain three points behind Ontario Tech in the battle for fourth place in the East division.
All eight of Queen’s losses have been by a single goal, if you include the three two-goal defeats that were embellished by an empty-net goal.
McGill, which had lost three of its previous four games, improved to 20-5-1 and moved into a first-place tie with Trois-Rivieres, though the Patriotes have played two fewer games.
The Gaels resume play Thursday night in the annual Carr-Harris Cup match at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. Game time is 7:30.