Martlets making magic early on, win home opener
Leslie Oles, Melodie Daoust lead the way with two goals apiece; McGill remains undefeated
The season may be young but the McGill Martlets look like they’re in mid-season form. On Saturday afternoon, the Martlets defeated the Carleton Ravens 6-0 thanks to a complete team effort. McGill didn’t give the Ravens a glimmer of hope, and outmatched Carleton in every aspect of the game from the opening face-off.
Martlet Head Coach Peter Smith has a ton of confidence in his roster, and the results justify his faith.
“We’ve got four real good lines [and] six strong defencemen. When everyone is skating and using each other, we’re a pretty dangerous team to play against. That was showcased against Carleton,” Smith said.
After a sluggish start, the Martlets picked up the pace midway through the first period, as first-year forward Gabrielle Davidson opened the scoring with eight minutes to go in the frame. Davidson has been a useful addition to the Martlet lineup, as her speed and ability to create scoring chances present matchup problems for the opposition.
McGill has no shortage of offensive weapons up front, led by a first line of second-year centre Melodie Daoust, and third-years Katia Clement-Heydra and Leslie Oles. The line generated scoring chances almost every time it was on the ice, and finally capitalized, as Clement-Heydra buried a goal past sprawling Carleton goaltender Eri Kiribuchi with just eight seconds remaining in the frame.
Smith praised his first line and their dominant offensive performance.
“That line of Daoust, Clement-Heydra, and Oles is just a great line. They have a real sense of where each other are,” Smith said. “They’re just so dynamic. They’re great skaters with good puck skills, and see the ice well. They’re exciting to watch.”
The line connected again in the second period, as Daoust scored her first of two goals on the night. She finished with three points in the game. They carried their momentum into the third, as Daoust struck again, followed by a powerplay goal by Oles, who finished with four points in the contest.
The Martlets fired 42 shots at Kiribuchi in comparison with Carleton’s 19 shots at McGill goalie Taylor Salisbury. Salisbury has taken over this year for long-time Martlet goaltender Charline Labonte, and the results speak volumes about her talent—she has allowed just two goals in three starts this season. Despite the void left by Labonte, Smith is pleased with his team’s current goaltending situation.
“We’re a different team without Labonte in net. There’s no getting around it [but] we know that,” Smith said. “I think our goaltending now matches up with anybody in the league.”
Oles netted the Martlets’ final tally late in the third, thanks to a superb set up by Clement-Heydra and Daoust. Carleton was clearly gassed and created few scoring chances, as McGill preserved the shut-out victory.
Though the Martlets have had little competition thus far this year, it is important that they do not become complacent. However, Smith isn’t too worried about his group—they know how to focus and take one game at a time despite the long season.
“The beauty of our team is that [the players] want to hear about it. They want to know what they do well [and] what they need to do better,” he said. “We know that this season is a process … they’re very focused on that process of getting better.”
The Martlets followed up their dominant effort against Carleton with another victory on Sunday afternoon against Concordia. Oles added a hat trick to her hot start to the season, while fourth-year backup goaltender Andrea Weckman was credited with the win after stopping 14 of the 17 shots she faced. McGill has a pair of away games next weekend before returning to McConnell Arena on Nov. 10 for a rematch against Concordia.