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Ottawa GeeGees score final five goals to upset McGill Redmen 11-10 in Baggataway Cup qualifying play. Ottawa will head to the CUFLA championship Final 6 next weekend in St. Catharines.
Ottawa pulled off possibly the most stunning upset in CUFLA history Saturday, downing the McGill Redmen 11-10 in Montreal in qualifying action for the Baggataway Cup. The win sends the GeeGees to the Final 6 for the first time.?
How unlikely was this Ottawa win? McGill finished first in CUFLA East with an 11-1 record, losing only an early-season game to Trent. Ottawa was sixth at 3-9 and hadn't won a game since September 24.
McGill scored 149 goals and finished the regular season with a +75 goal differential. Ottawa allowed 149 goals, finishing with a -47.?
McGill beat Ottawa 14-7 and 15-8 in the two meetings between the teams in the regular season. Clearly, the GeeGees entered the qualification game as heavy, heavy underdogs.?
And when McGill star attack Spencer Bromley scored the first two goals of the game, it looked like things were proceeding according to expectations. Liam Brechin got Ottawa on the board with 47 seconds to play in the first quarter but Maxime Murdoch responded for McGill with a power play goal just 16 seconds into the second to make the score 3-1 for McGill.?
Then Ottawa sprung to life. The GeeGees scored the next four goals, including a pair from leading scorer Fred Hartley. Even with McGill's Emile Sassone-Lawless connecting just two seconds before halftime, Ottawa went into the break with a 5-4 lead.?
The Redmen aren't used to losing much and they don't take trailing in a game lightly. They responded with the only two goals of the third quarter, both from the stick of Bromley, to edge back into the lead. The Redmen roll continued with a pair of goals in the first 2:33 of the fourth quarter. By the 12:08 mark, McGill had pulled out to a 10-6 lead and looked to be well on the way to earning a trip to St. Catharines to defend their Baggataway Cup title.
Ottawa had other ideas, though. Brandon Perras scored with 6:37 to play. 10-7.
Time kept ticking down on the GeeGees season, and the outlook was bleak as the clock rolled past three minutes to play, then two and a half. But then Kevin MIddaugh buried a pass from Brechin and a miracle finish was a little less out of the question. 10-8, 2:21 to play.?
Still, the Redmen are the defending champs for many reasons, one of which is their strong defence and goaltending. They allowed the fewest goals in CUFLA this regular season, an average of just 6.7 per game. Surely an Ottawa team that scored 8.5 per game wouldn't be able to find the net five times in the final six and a half minutes to pull out a shocking win.?
And yet, just over a minute after Middaugh's goal, LSM Cameron Spencer set up Kyle Staveley and he tightened things up just a little more. 10-9. 1:16 to play.?
Midfielder Scott Taylor didn't score a goal in his rookie season of 2015 and he had just three this fall. But he found the perfect time to uncover his scoring touch just 36 seconds after Staveley's marker. 10-10 with 44 seconds left.?
Momentum was with the GeeGees as overtime loomed. You don't want to give an experienced team like McGill the break before extra time starts to catch its breath and settle down, though. Ottawa pressed for a winner.?
It would come from the stick of Spencer with 16 ticks left on the clock, which did not strike midnight on the Cinderella GeeGees.