Fearless Frankie steals scoring crown as Redmen rout Gee-Gees
MONTREAL - Francis Verreault-Paul of Mashteuiatsh, Que.,
exploded for three goals and an assist as No.5-ranked McGill routed
the Ottawa Gee-Gees 9-0 in the OUA regular season finale at
McConnell Arena, Saturday.
It was his third hat-trick of the season and his four-point performance was enough to capture to the OUA scoring title by one point. The 5-foot-10, 178-pound winger finished with a CIS-leading 25 goals and 54 points in 27 games, one point ahead of UQTR's Francis Charland (24-29-53). Verreault-Paul, a feisty 22-year-old kinesiology sophomore, becomes only the third Redmen player to capture the OUA scoring crown and the first since Mathieu Darche in 1999-2000.
The Redmen, under the direction of first-year head coach Jim Webster, led the country in scoring and finished with a stellar 22-6 second-place standing in the OUA East, breaking the previous single-season school record for victories set in 1999-2000, when they went 21-5 in two less games.
"I'm very happy for Francis that he won the scoring championship but I really wrestled with constantly putting him out there on the power play when we were comfortably ahead," said Webster. "We didn't intend any disrespect towards the Gee-Gees but we have a playoff game coming up and need to be at the top of our game."
McGill led an inexperienced Ottawa squad 4-0 after the first period and 5-0 after two. They outshot the Gee-Gees 52-27, including a lopsided 21-7 margin in the middle stanza."
The game featured 118 penalty minutes assessed by referee Marc-Andre Lavoie, including 71 to the Gee-Gees. McGill took advantage of the situation to go 4-for-12 on the power play, while killing-off all six shorthanded scenarios.
Goaltender Hubert Morin, a sophomore from St. Georges de Beauce, Que., posted his league-leading fourth shutout of the season and improved his record to 17-3-0. He finished third among OUA leaders with a 2.39 goals-against average and was second in save percentage (.917).
Evan Vossen of Swift Current, Sask., scored twice for the Redmen, with singles going to Marc-Andre Daneau of Aston-Jonction, Que., Maxime Langelier-Parent of Levy, Que., Guillaume Doucet of Anjou, Que., and Simon Marcotte-Légaré of Longueuil, Que.
Defencemen Marc-Andre Dorion and Yan Turcotte each added three helpers. Dorion, a former all-star in the QMJHL who hails from St. Hubert, Que., ended up leading all OUA rearguards in points with a 7-29-36 record in 25 games. Turcotte, the team captain, finished tied for third in goals (9) and was third in points (25), despite spending 120 minutes in the sin-bin.
Alex-Picard-Hooper, a finace sophomore from Boucherville, Que., who centres McGill's top line, collected a pair of assists and finished third in OUA scoring with 49 points in 28 games, including a league-leading 38 assists.
McGill now sets their focus on the Nipissing University Lakers, a second-year team from Thunder Bay, Ont., who they will meet in the OUA East Conference best-of-three quarterfinal series.
The Lakers were entitled to host Game 1 of the series, as per OUA travel guidelines but their local arena was unavailable, so the opener will be played at McGill's McConnell Arena on Wednesday (Feb. 17) at 7 p.m. Game 2 is slated for Friday in North Bay. If a rubber match is needed, it will be played back at McConnell on Sunday (Feb. 21) at 2 p.m.
REDMEN RAP: McGill improved to 83-77-10 lifetime against the gee-Gees since they began playing each other in 1968... Six Redmen ended up averaging over a point-per-game and seven players reached double figures in goals scored... The Redmen ended up leading the 19-team OUA in penalty minutes with 684 in 28 games but their total was only eight minutes more than the previous season... One of the key to their success was the ability to kill-off most of their penalties as the Redmen posted a league-leading 89.6 per cent success rate, snuffing out 155 of 173 PK situations. The Redmen gave up only 18 PPGs and countered with 11 shorthanded goals... The 156 goals scored by the team was the second-highest in school history, behind the 173 netted by the 1988-89 team... McGill scored 59 goals on special teams, including 48 PPGs...Redmen blueliners accounted for 26 markers.