Entering the season opener, the Ottawa Gee Gees were tied for 10th in the CIS National Polls (PEI was also ranked 10th). With a home opener against the crosstown-rival Carleton Ravens, the Gee Gees entered the contest with optimism.
Fannie Desforges (the 2012 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Champion) was the captain for the Gee Gees, while the alternate captains were third-year player Asha Kauffeldt and fourth-year defender Carley Porcellato. Blaire Macdonald was named the team captain and Sadie Wegner was the alternate captain for the Ravens.
The starting goaltender for the Gee Gees was Caitlin Fowler, and she was tested early. Rookie Tawnya Guindon had a great scoring chance but could not put away the rebound for Carleton. Wegner shot high and on the blockers side, but the shot went over the post. Dependable blueliner Erin Beaver had her shot blocked by Gee Gees freshman forward Cindy Laurin.
Five minutes into the opening frame, the Gee Gees began to apply pressure to Ravens starting netminder Eri Kiribuchi. Desforges and Camille Pauck-Therrien nearly opened the scoring for Ottawa. Dominique Lefebvre would be the first player to log a goal in the contest, as she buried the puck past Kiribuchi with 12:10 left. Valerie Watson, an RSEQ All-Rookie selection in 2012 logged the assist.
Janie Paquette nearly made it 2-0 but she was knocked down by Erin Beaver. Ravens veteran Kelsey Vander Veen and Valerie Gobeil shoved each other as well. Another scoring opportunity soon followed, as Fannie Desforges went end-to-end but her shot went over the crossbar.
Throughout the rest of the first period, the Ravens displayed excellent skills. Vander Veen blocked shots, while Beaver and Stephanie Plourde intercepted passes. Although Desforges and Wegner would have a scuffle in the corners, Alex Yallouz evened things up with 1:36 left. A very fast skater and enthusiastic player, Yallouz was behind the net and made a backhand pass to Ainslee Kent, so she could put herself in front of the net.
Heading into the second period, the Ravens made adjustments. Erin Beaver continued to play a steady game, which allowed the Ravens skaters more confidence. Ainslee Kent, another key forward in the Ravens attack, scored. There was a chorus of boos by the capacity crowd as they believed the goal should have been disallowed. As the puck entered the net, Gee Gees second-year player Valerie Gobeil crashed into Fowler’s net.
The Ravens added to their lead as freshman Kaylie Welk scored an unassisted goal. Wegner continued to be a factor in the period by winning face-offs for the Ravens. Captain Blaire Macdonald also blocked the shot of Dominique Lefebvre, as she worked gallantly to preserve the Ravens lead.
With a holding penalty to Yallouz (with 8:58 left in the second), the Gee Gees got on the offensive. Watson made a cross-ice pass to Desforges but she missed it. Gee Gees freshman Maude Laramee shot on Kiribuchi but was unable to score. Lefebvre hit the crossbar and that was the last opportunity for the Gee Gees to capitalize on the power play.
Another power play presented itself with less than four minutes remaining and the Gee Gees successfully scored. With a slashing penalty to Erin Beaver, the Gee Gees went on the attack. Alicia Blomberg (who also played for Canada at the World Ball Hockey Championships) scored six seconds into the power play.
Wegner quickly tried to extend the lead back to two goals. Gobeil knocked down Ainslee Kent and the Gee Gees were called for a penalty. Fourth-year forward Sydnie MacDonald scored for the Ravens, with the assist going to Guindon to give the Ravens a 4-2 lead. Despite the goal, the Ravens were called for a penalty with 24 seconds left. Jessica O’Grady sat in the penalty box and Asha Kauffeldt attempted to score for the Gee Gees.
In the final stanza, the Gee Gees tried valiantly to tie the score. Lefebvre and Genevieve Legault both tested Kiribuchi. Laramee released a hard shot on Kiribuchi who could not control the rebound, but Carleton’s defense ensured the lead remained intact. A few seconds later, Desforges intercepted a Ravens pass and made a backhand pass to Camille Pauck-Therrien who nearly scored.
Throughout the pressure applied by the Gee Gees, the Ravens truly worked as a team. With Alicia Blomberg slashing Kiribuchi’s glove hand, Yallouz quickly came to her defense and shoved Blomberg. Desforges would try again to put Ottawa back on the score sheet. Kiribuchi saved her shot, and Elarie Leclair pounced on the rebound but hit the post.
A few seconds later, the Gee Gees thought they logged the third goal. Second-year player Jen Delange shot on Kiribuchi, who had the puck bounce out of her glove. With the Ravens goaltender on her back, freshman Cindy Laurin thought she scored. A penalty to Logan Banks had been called right before Laurin put the puck in the net. On the power play, the Ravens capitalized to extend their lead to 5-2. Victoria Gouge scored on assists by Sadie Wegner and Erin Beaver.
Facing a three-goal deficit, the Gee Gees regrouped and went back on the offensive. Jessica Bouchard would score on a backhand past Kiribuchi, with Laramee logging the assist. From there, the Gee Gees would not relent. Asha Kauffeldt intercepted a pass from Tawnya Guindon and the Gee Gees found themselves back in Carleton’s zone. Lefebvre had a snapshot that was saved by Kiribuchi.
In the final five minutes of the period, the Gee Gees continued to be aggressive. Desforges logged a lot of ice time as she tried to build momentum for the beleaguered Ottawa squad. While Laramee and Gobeil peppered Kiribuchi with shots, the Gee Gees were unable to reduce the Ravens lead. Having benched Fowler in favor of an extra attacker, the Gee Gees' efforts were fruitless. Ainslee Kent scored into the empty net with 13 seconds left, as the Ravens defeated the Gee Gees by a 6-3 tally.