It’s been win one game, lose the other for men’s hockey this season.
By splitting their games last weekend, the Gaels found themselves winning one contest while failing to achieve victory in the other for the fourth weekend in a row.
The Gaels fell 3-2 against the Ryerson Rams on Friday, before earning a hard fought 2-1 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues the next night.
Queen’s (6-5-0) currently sits seventh in the OUA East, but is just three points removed from fourth place in the tight division.
“No one’s satisfied with where we are right now,” said Gaels head coach Brett Gibson. “We need to continue to create an identity for our team.”
Queen’s managed 52 shots against the Rams (8-3-1) on Friday night, but struggled to beat Ryerson goaltender Troy Passingham. Forwards Kelly Jackson and Braeden Corbeth scored in the loss for the Gaels.
“We ran into a hot goalie,” Gibson said. “Sometimes it happens.”
Queen’s put up the same two-goal total against Toronto (4-7-1) the following night, but this time on just 29 shots.
Third-year forward Andrew Wiebe came through for the Gaels on Saturday, netting both goals. His first was scored on the power play, while the winning goal came shorthanded in the opening minute of the third period.
“I’m so happy for the guy to score to two goals like that,” Gibson said. “He’s a guy we use defensively a lot, on the penalty kill and he’s a big part of our team. He’s one of those guys that does everything right for us.”
Kevin Bailie was in net for the Gaels for both games, making 37 saves in the loss to Ryerson and 21 saves in the win over Toronto. As the reigning OUA East MVP, Gibson expects nothing less than the best of his star goalie, who’s posting the sixth-highest save percentage in the CIS at .934.
“Kevin’s numbers have been good so far, but I don’t think he’d say he’s been spectacular,” Gibson said. “There’s still another level for him to reach, and he’s a major part of how our team does going forward.”
Queen’s power play has been one of its highlights this season, clicking at a 25 per cent rate, third-best in the OUA. In addition to Wiebe’s goal against Toronto, the Gaels added a marker with the man advantage against Ryerson.
While the Gaels aren’t among the top teams in the East, Gibson said he’s still impressed by the team’s performance so far.
“I’d be worried if we weren’t getting chances, but we’re averaging nearly 40 shots on goal a night,” he said. “I don’t necessarily like our record, but I really like the way the team is playing.”
Queen’s will finish off 2014 with four straight home games, starting with back-to-back games against the Lakehead Thunderwolves (4-7-2) this weekend.
Due to the distance between the two schools, scheduling games is often an issue. This weekend’s matchups will be the first time the squads have squared off since January 2009.
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