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Carleton faceoff whiz Andrew Bortolus wins a draw against Ottawa. (Photo: Robert Hoselton)
Ottawa and Carleton are making a tradition of meeting in lacrosse the night before the Panda Game between the schools' football teams. The GeeGees won this year's contest 11-5 Friday.
By Robert Hoselton
Autumn in Ottawa means the Panda Game — bragging rights between Ottawa's CIS football teams of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. And, in what has quickly become a tradition of its own, the school’s lacrosse teams for the past few years have faced off against each other on the eve of the big game.
The GeeGees came into the game with their sights aimed squarely on the 2017 playoffs. The addition to the coaching staff of Robert Morris Colonial graduates JP Kealey (Offensive Coordinator) and Brett Cass (Defensive Coordinator) has had an obvious impact on the GeeGees’ game. The aggressive and active defence is led by Connor Primeau and captain Tyler Austin. The GeeGees offence led by the trio of Spencer Corkery, Fred Hartley and Liam Brechin make Ottawa a threat on every possession.
The Ravens, who have been led by their All-Canadian goalie Simon Bellamy and the tight defensive trio of Adriano Morgano, Trent Larock and Greg Mackenzie, came into the game wanting nothing more than to knock off their crosstown rivals. The Ravens' Achilles heel this year has been their offence, where their struggles to find chemistry have made them the lowest-scoring team in all of CUFLA. With the loss to graduation of dynamic offensive leader Aaron Woods, the Ravens have a league low of just over 5 goals for per game.
Behind a number of agile saves from Bellamy and a strong game at face off by Andrew Bortolus, the Ravens scored the first of the game on a long sweep by their leading scorer, Noah Hoselton. That would be all the scoring in the first as the two teams battled back and forth under a light rain.
The second quarter started well for the Ravens as Hoselton fed Matt Klassen for his fourth of the year to put the Ravens ahead 2-0. That’s where the Ravens’ momentum ended. The GeeGees took advantage of Carleton penalties to go on a 7-0 run on two goals by Corkery, three consecutive goals by Hartley, the first of the night for Kyle Staveley and a beautiful solo play. LSM Connor Primeau stripped the ball, picked up the loosie and turned a quick break into a goal to put a dagger in the Ravens’ heart.
Ottawa’s Staveley started the third with his second of the night before Carleton’s Cam Breen fired a bullet to make it 8-3 Ottawa. The teams then traded goals on Corkery’s hat trick goal and Hoselton’s second to finish the third quarter 9-4 Ottawa.
The teams battled back and forth in the final quarter before Hartley netted his fourth of the match. Hoselton picked up his hat trick with a bullet on the power play to make it 10-5 Ottawa before the GeeGees’ captain, LSM Tyler Austin, finished a sweet feed from Corkery to make the final 11-5 GeeGees.