Greg and Mark McMillan are quietly scoring up a storm
By Kevin Gonsalves
The hockey team’s identical twins, Greg and Mark McMillan, have a secret. They score points, and lots of them, but they don’t want anyone to know.
The brothers have a combined 31 points in eight games, following the team’s 5-2 loss to Windsor University on Saturday. By their own account, the McMillans think they have little impact on Ryerson’s good fortune.
The hockey team is off to its best start in years. They rose from last to first place in the OUA midwest division. They are 5-4-0 after beating Windsor 2-1 on Sunday. The hockey team only won four of 24 games last season.
The McMillan line, centred by Tyler Moss, accounts for 17 of the team’s 32 goals. Mark and Greg are in the top seven in Ontario University Athletics’ points scoring, with 17 and 14 points, respectively.
But the brothers, both applied geography students, say they are hardly a key reason for the team’s success.
“We’re just a small part of why the team’s doing well,” says Greg, a right-winger.
Mark, who plays left wing, agrees. “We’re just a secondary reason why they team is doing good. Our goaltending’s been the main reason we’ve won. You look at the stats, we’re outshot by a lot every game and yet we still manage to win.”
A reason for the sudden success of the second line may have to do with the fact this is the third season the McMillans, and their centre, Moss, have played together.
“We’ve all worked hard,” says Mark. “And when we first started to play together three years ago, we knew the results would be good.”
Both brothers credit Moss, who has 10 goals to lead the team in scoring, for being a large reason for their success. “We wouldn’t be doing this well if it were not for him,” Mark says.
“They always know where each other is,” Moss says of his identical linemates. “Things come easy to them because of their skill. Their main improvement this year is their confidence. Their ability has always been there.”
Rams coach Ed Kristen says he was happy with the effort the McMillans’ line produced after the team’s road trip to Ottawa last week.
“They haven’t become our first line yet, but they are really having a breakout year for us,” Kristen says.
This is the first taste of success the McMillans have had in their three years at Ryerson. Last year the team went 4-20-0 and missed the playoffs. This year, the team finally looks playoff-bound.
“We’d be happy even if we didn’t score any points, as long as the team is winning,” Mark says.
The McMillans are 23 years old (Mark is the older by a few minutes). They are from St. Catharine’s, but live in Mississauga during the school year. Neither can remember a time when they did not play hockey.
“We’ve been playing essentially since we were born,” Greg says, laughing.
Mark corrects this slightly. “I’d say we’ve been playing hockey since we were about six years old.”
The McMillans played Junior B hockey at home. The chance to play hockey at Ryerson intrigued them.
“Our decision to come to Ryerson was in part because of the chance to play hockey, and partly for academics,” says Mark.
The hectic hockey schedule, combined with applied geography work, leaves the twins with little time for anything else.
“We’re on the ice six or seven days a week,” says Greg. “We might hang around with our teammates. Maybe we’ll watch TV at their place.”
They are both looking for careers in geography when their hockey eligibility ends in 2004, which may be the first time they will not be playing hockey during the winter.
The rise of the McMillans on the Rams has helped the team towards its preseason goal of making the playoffs.
Moss and the McMillans used to play a checking role. The brothers think this helped them develop into complete players.
“We’re much better defensively now,” Mark said.
“It’s made us more complete players,” Greg echoed.
Moss says more is expected of the line.
“We’re getting the opportunity to score more and focus less on defence,” he says. “Since we’re getting a lot of chances, we’re getting goals.”
The Rams’ strong play has the team optimistic about it’s chances in the spring.
“We should be in first place at the end of the season,” said Mark. “We have lots of good players, two good goalies, and our defence is much more disciplined.”
While their personal statistics might garner the brothers a lot of new attention, both agree the points totals don’t concern them.
“Team goals are much more important,” said Mark.
Greg agreed. “It’s fun for us to contribute to a winning team.”
Anybody can see the twins are having a huge impact on the Rams’ season. Just don’t ask them to agree with that.