Playoff race picks up

Loss to sixth-place Nipissing raises stakes for Carr-Harris Cup

The Gaels are 0-4 this season against Nipissing, with the Lakers five points ahead in the OUA.
The Gaels are 0-4 this season against Nipissing, with the Lakers five points ahead in the OUA.
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The Gaels followed up an outstanding win with a costly loss on Saturday.

A 4-2 loss to the sixth-place Nipissing Lakers on Saturday drops them to 0-4 against the Lakers this season.

With only four games remaining, the Gaels will be hard-pressed to climb out of seventh spot in the OUA.

“There’s only a couple games left and that was basically our playoffs on the line,” Gaels forward Kelly Jackson said. “That [game] was for sixth spot and we didn’t show up tonight.”

The game was in stark contrast to Friday night, where the Gaels had an offensive outburst as they downed the Toronto Varsity Blues 6-2.

“[Friday] night we were bearing down, everyone from our defense to our offense and that’s how it carries over,” Jackson said. “[Saturday], bottom line, the effort wasn’t there and we didn’t execute.”

Jackson recorded a hat trick against the Blues and set up linemate Jordan Mirwaldt in front of the net for a goal against Nipissing.

Since reuniting with 2011 linemate Tyler Moore last week, Jackson and Moore have combined for five goals and four assists.

“Putting [Jackson] with a guy like Tyler Moore — who has the ability to put the puck in the net — creates a lot of opportunities,” Gaels assistant coach Jon Lawrance said. “The two of them really seem to click.”

Although the Gaels are only 3-6 since the winter break, their once-weak power play has been revitalized.

The Gaels have gone 9-for-33 with the man advantage in those nine games, putting them at a commendable 27.3 per cent.

“I think we’ve really just simplified [the power play],” Lawrance said. “We’ve gotten back to moving the puck — we were very stationary and didn’t shoot a lot of pucks the first half [of the season].”

With the regular season nearing its end and points at a premium, Thursday’s upcoming Carr-Harris Cup against the RMC Paladins should live up to its hype.

Last week’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Paladins left the Gaels with a bad taste in their mouths and looking for revenge.

“Obviously after our effort last week against [RMC] we have something to prove,” Lawrance said, who won five straight Carr-Harris Cups as a player from 2008-12.

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