Ridgebacks need to be road warriors to extend season

Ontario Tech Ridgebacks forward Josh Maguire battles a couple of Ottawa Gee-Gees during Game 1 of their opening round playoff series at the Campus Ice Centre Wednesday. Photo credit: Ryan Hahn

The Ontario Tech Ridgebacks men’s hockey team is on the brink of elimination from the 2020 Ontario University Athletics playoffs.

The Ottawa Gee-Gees won the first game of the best-of-three opening round series 2-1 in overtime at the Campus Ice Centre Wednesday as forward Kyle Ward scored the game winner five minutes into the extra period.

With the loss at home Ontario Tech now faces what could be a long weekend in Ottawa. The Ridgebacks need to win Game 2 on Saturday in Ottawa in order to force a third game in the series.

Ridgebacks’ head coach Curtis Hodgins said after the loss Wednesday the team does not plan on changing much going into the weekend – and they will be ready.

“Will give it all we got on Saturday and try to extend it to a Game 3,” said Hodgins.

The Ridgebacks’ regular season record indicates they may play better on the road as they were 6-7-1 overall at home and 7-5-2 on the road.

Hodgins believes in his team no matter where they play and knows what to expect out of them.

“With this hockey club the way we battle nothing surprises me,” said Hodgins.

Game 1 was dominated by the goalies. Ridgebacks goalie Leif Hertz made 33 saves on 35 shots in his first playoff appearance with the team.

Gee-Gees goalie Domenic Graham stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced on the night.

The Ridgebacks’ lone goal of the game came from Cody Grant who played in his first playoff game with the team.

Game 2 takes place on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Uottawa Minto Sports Complex.

Game 3, if necessary, is Sunday, also in Ottawa at the same time and arena.