In their first set of games since returning from Europe, the Carleton Ravens men’s hockey team showed no signs of jetlag.
The Ravens played two games last week, emerging with a 6-1 road win over the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins on Sept. 19 before coming home to beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 4-2 on Sept. 20.
Coach Shaun Van Allen said his team played well in the back-to-back scenario, even when dealing with the smaller North American ice surface.
“It’s hard, as it is, playing in your rink, then to go to a smaller rink,” said Van Allen. “I think our guys played really well.
“It was an eye-opener for our first-year guys,” he added.
In the first game, the Ravens and the Paladins played a relatively close first period, with third-year Carleton forward Wyatt Nosky scoring the only goal.
However, the Ravens turned it on in the second. They scored three powerplay goals, outshot the Paladins 22-9, and only allowed one goal to RMC.
“I thought our powerplay was really good. That really helped us,” said Van Allen. “They got three of the goals on the powerplay. We’re happy with that.”
Entering the third period the team was up 4-1, second year forwards Matthew Forchuk and Ryker Cole added goals for the Ravens in the final frame against RMC.
Forchuk eventually led the way for the Ravens over both games, contributing one goal and four assists to the winning efforts.
The next game against the Varsity Blues became very intense after the Ravens went up early through Alexandre Boivin.
The fifth year forward tallied two identical goals from the right circle by the six-minute mark of the first period, giving the Ravens an early 2-0 lead.
“It’s important. Obviously, you want to start the game coming out strong,” said Boivin. “I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity, there—I like that little spot.”
Both teams started playing with increased physicality, each trying not to let the other set the tone. For the Ravens, usual suspects Cody Caron and Darian Skeoch both threw and received big hits during the game.
The rough stuff boiled over when Varsity Blues defenseman Justin Brand shoved Carleton blueliner Matt Barberis to the ice at the end of the second period, leading to a violent scrum.
“Both teams, guys are fighting for jobs, guys are fighting for ice-time, and everyone’s competitive,” said Boivin, who was on the ice during the altercations. “We want to win, they want to win, so I think that’s a good game to get us ready for the physicality.”
“For the most part, I liked [the intensity],” added Van Allen. “I would’ve liked to see us win a few more battles.”
Barberis and first-year forward Cole Carter added goals for Carleton en route to the 4-2 final on Friday.
Van Allen identified Forchuk and Boivin as two key contributors for the Ravens this season.
“They’re offensive players. Their job is to put up points, and they’re going to play the powerplay,” said Van Allen. “We’re going to lean on them for offense.”
The Ravens will return to action on the road in their regular season-opener on Oct. 2 against l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.
Feature image by Mike Gould.