In their last road trip of the regular season, the Carleton Ravens women’s hockey team took to the road to face off against the University of Montreal Carabins and the McGill University Martlets on Feb. 8. and 10. It was a trip in which the team did something they had never done before with Pierre Alain as head coach.
Day 1, 2:15 p.m.
The team starts bringing their gear out to the bus as the team’s equipment manager, Christopher Ward, is arranging all the bags and equipment under the bus.
While Ward arranges everything under the bus, the team starts filing onto the bus, some of the girls have food and coffee from Tim Hortons, while others have pillows for the two-hour ride.
Many of the girls comment on how the bus seems “bigger” and how they believe there’s an extra row.
The team’s third-string goalie, Alexandra Lehmann, who is backing up the starter, Katelyn Steele, this weekend, mentions how “no two buses are the same.”
The bus departs Carleton as the team gets settled into their seats.
The first three rows of the bus are designated for the coaching staff, Lyne Landry and Pier Martin, the athletic therapist, Brigitte Roy, the equipment manager, Ward, and the team’s video coach, Derek Clemens.
There’s a guitar in one of the overhead bins at the front of the bus. Landry wonders if it was already on the bus when everyone boarded. The bus driver mentions that it’s his and he sometimes plays it while waiting during a game.
Some of the team at the back of the bus mention how the coaching staff should buy them 10 cakes if they get 4 points over the weekend.
“10 cakes for 4 points?” Martin asks.
“What happens if we say no? You’ll drop the games on purpose?” He quips back.
A chorus of “yeahs” comes from the back of the bus.
As the bus rolls into a rhythm on its drive down to Montreal, some of the girls work on school work for their classes, other girls take naps, while other girls talk amongst themselves.
First-year defenceman, Samantha Andrews, ambles up to the front of the bus, mentioning how she feels carsick and wondering if she can sit up front. Assistant coach Martin makes some room next to him in the first row.
Chatter on the bus increases as more girls start chatting with each other as the bus approaches Montreal and the arena. They seem to be quite excited for the game and talk about how important it is to win tonight.
First-year forward, Amy Doherty, comes up to the front of the bus with a pair of headphones on, saying that she’s trying to learn how to chirp people in French.
She says, “Sucer mes grains.”
Someone says that the phrase means “Suck my seeds.”
Doherty keeps saying it for a while.
Martin then quips how she’ll be saying that word for the whole rest of the night.
The bus pulls into the back-rink entrance of the CEPSUM.
The CEPSUM is a multi-purpose complex sport centre, located on the University of Montreal campus. It is the home of the Montreal Carabins teams that sits 2460 people.
The team files off the bus and grabs their hockey bags from under the bus. Once they’ve gotten their bags, the girls head into the building and straight to their designated locker room.
The team has their team meeting – they talk about the strategies of the game and how they will beat Montreal that night. The coaching staff talk about how important the start of the game will be, how they need to execute their fore-check and that everyone will have a big role in the game tonight.
The team makes their way over to the Zamboni entrance, where they begin their off-ice warm-ups to get ready for the game.
One group of girls starts passing a volleyball around a circle, two other groups start a spike-ball match as their warm-up.
Once they’re done that, they begin jogging, sprinting, side-shuffling, and doing some high knee exercises back and forth from the far wall to the seating area.
When they’re done with their exercises and warm-ups, the team heads back to the locker room to get set for the game.
The team heads onto the ice for warm-up.
The puck drops as the Ravens face off against the Montreal Carabins.
Eight minutes into the opening period, Ravens forward Megan Wilson, scores her third goal of the season to put her team up 1-0.
The Ravens then jump out to a 2-0 lead halfway through the second period, when Ravens defenceman Jordan Beshara records her first goal of the season.
Carabins forwards Annie Germain and Alexandra Labelle soon tie the game at two apiece.
The game goes to double overtime.
Carabins forward Jessica Cormier puts the game to rest when she scores the winning goal.
The Ravens have dropped the game 3-2 in double overtime.
Even though the team has lost, the Ravens have achieved something they hadn’t done since Alain became coach.
The Ravens have now picked up a point at the CEPSUM for the first time since Alain has been coaching them.
Alain sees this as a gain.
“It’s a huge point. It’s the first point ever in my era that we make here in Montreal, so, it’s a loss, yes, but I would say its not a loss. It’s a gain. We’re gaining one point, and at this time, those are precious,” Alain says.
The team starts reporting to and loading the bus for their two hour drive back to Ottawa.
The bus rolls out of the CEPSUM and makes it back home after 12:15 a.m. – this is their latest arrival time and the girls were very quiet the entire way home.
A few of them are battling colds so they took the opportunity to sleep and rest up – knowing that Sunday is a big game for them.
Day 2, 3:00 p.m.
The University of Ottawa (U of O) Gee-Gees have a game against the McGill University Martlets at the McConnell Arena.
If the Ravens want to make the playoffs, the Gee-Gees have to lose all the rest of their games in regulation, as the Ravens have to get three points to physically move ahead of Ottawa in the standings.
The puck drops in the game at McConnell arena.
Martlets forward, Valerie Audet, scores the games only goal nine minutes into the second period.
With McGill’s win, Carleton’s playoff hopes are still in the picture.
Day 3, 1:30 p.m.
The Ravens are back in Montreal to face off against the Martlets at McConnell Arena.
The team is doing their off-ice warmup exercises.
The Ravens and the Martlets skate onto the ice for their warmup.
The game begins.
The first period ends with both teams scoreless, while the Martlets have 15 shots on goal, compared to the Ravens 11.
The second period also ends scoreless, as the Martlets have 11 shots on goal while the Ravens have seven.
The third period heats up, as the Martlets score three unanswered goals from forwards Marika Labrecque, Stephanie Desjardins, and Lea Dumais.
The Ravens have lost this game 3-0.
Ravens head coach, Alain, believes the Ravens played well for 55 minutes.
“Another good 55 minutes. Like, it’s the fifth or sixth time that we’re losing the game in the first five minutes of the third. We need to sort that out. We warned them, we prepared them. Like, they have to jump, they have to go out there and just play. We should go out there knowing that those five minutes are not our best,” Alain says.
During the game, Steele saved thirty-seven shots out of the thirty-nine shots she faced.
“She’s an all-star. She’s really good, she’s always there to save us, she’s really consistent for everything. She’s really great,” Ravens forward Sandrine Hachez says.
The Ravens come out of the locker room and head over to do post-game exercises.
The Ravens start ambling onto the bus, fresh from their post-game showers.
Pizza from Pizza St Viateur gets delivered to the bus as it is idling in the arena parking lot. Some players get a box to themselves, while others share a box. The coaches, equipment manager, and athletic therapist also get pizza.
Martin gets up from his seat to do a head count. A good chunk of the team is still inside the arena, finishing up with their showers.
“Most of the team is still not here. It’s the defence, your D-corps,” he says to Landry, who is in charge of coaching the defence on the team. There appears to be good camaraderie from the coaching staff.
Martin then quips on how if the players don’t make it to the bus by 6:00, that the bus would slowly start inching its way down the hill without them.
The rest of the team members hop onto the bus.
They’re right on time.
The bus’s lights go dark as the driver expertly guides the bus down the narrow roadway from the arena and onto the main road.
Landry mentions how she feels something touching her heel.
“It’s an apple,” Martin says.
It is an apple. It’s Ward’s apple.
Landry mentions about how every time the bus would brake, something would touch her foot, and she could hear it rolling around but she didn’t know what it was.
Ward mentions how it must have fallen off his tray. He picks it up and says that he’s saving it for his goats.
The coaches then ask Ward about his goats. He has two and he gives them five apples each night.
The coaching staff like to keep it light on the bus rides. They talk strategy a little bit, spend some time reviewing video and talking about the game, but in general, it’s trying to think about something other than the game.
As the bus is driving down the highway towards Ottawa, the team quiets down as some of them eat their pizza, while others get comfortable and sleep after a long weekend. The coaching staff also gets some shut eye as the bus ambles down the highway.
The team starts to get loud at the back of the bus as the bus is nearing the city of Ottawa.
The bus pulls into the parking lot of the Ice House.
The team is now back to Ottawa.
As the team members file off the bus, Martin says goodbye to each player.
Once they’re off the bus, the girls grab their bags from under the bus and head into the Ice House.
The team walked away with one point out of a possible four. And the one point they did get, they gained a milestone in the era of Alain as their coach.
All in all, a good road trip for the team.
There are a few people I need to thank for the chance to go on this trip. A huge thank you to all the people at Carleton Athletics who made this trip happen, especially the assistant manager and Communications & Digital Marketing officer, Mitchell Dick. Another big thank you to the coaching staff, Pierre Alain, Pier Martin, Lyne Landry, Christopher Ward, and Brigitte Roy for all your help. I would also like to thank Ravens video coach, Derek Clemens, because on the trip, he made me feel the most welcome! Thank you to everyone who helped me feel welcome and thank you for allowing me to come on the road trip! You helped make me feel welcome on the trip. Finally, thank you to the players for making me feel welcome as well and putting up with my early arrivals.