A two-game winning streak doesn’t seem like much — but it’s been a while since men’s hockey has had one.
Queen’s snagged a 4-1 victory over the Laurentian Voyageurs in their final road trip of the season on Saturday, four days after beating the UOIT Ridgebacks 6-4.
The Gaels (11-12-1) hadn’t won twice in a row since victories over the Toronto Varsity Blues and Lakehead Thunderwolves on Nov.15 and Nov. 21.
Queen’s sits two points back of the Nipissing Lakers (12-11-1) for fifth place in the OUA East, with a pair of games remaining in their season.
The win came despite an unusual ploy from the Voyageurs. Laurentian pulled their goaltender with eight minutes left in the game, with the Gaels holding a three-goal lead in the third.
The strategy worked to a degree — they outshot Queen’s 21-9 in the final period — but the Voyageurs scored just one goal, coming with under two minutes left in the game.
“They were basically on a power play for the last part of the third,” said Gaels netminder Kevin Bailie. “They did a great job controlling the puck, but we played it well enough to win.”
Gaels forward Andrew Wiebe started the scoring against Laurentian with a power play goal 6:47 into the first frame.
Though it appeared the game would go through the first 40 minutes sticking to the 1-0 score, Gaels winger Eric Ming scored with 25 seconds left in the second period to double Queen’s lead.
“That’s a turning point right there,” Bailie said. “It was really equal right up until that point.”
Centre Kelly Jackson then put the game further out of reach with a goal five minutes into the third period, giving Queen’s a 3-0 advantage. Wiebe added his second goal of the game on an empty netter with seven seconds to go.
Bailie stopped 39 of 40 Laurentian shots, submitting his best statistical performance since the Nov. 21 win over Lakehead.
The reigning CIS Rookie of the Year, Bailie came into the season with high expectations, but hasn’t necessarily performed how he’d have liked to, posting a 2.67 goals against average. In light of that, he said his teammates and coaching staff’s confidence in him will be key moving forward.
“I’m going to mess up, and they’ll have my back,” he said. “They’ll mess up and I’ll still have their back. To me, that’s what a team is.”
The Gaels play the RMC Paladins (0-20-3) on Thursday in the Carr-Harris Cup at the K-Rock Centre. While RMC is winless on the season, Bailie said the Paladins have the potential to be dangerous in a one-game matchup, evidenced by their 2-1 victory over Queen’s in last year’s Carr-Harris game.
“We’re in playoff mode now,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we play — we need to be at our best and get the two points.”
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