The Gaels came out of the weekend with a win and an overtime loss, extending their point streak to seven games.
The team, ranked fifth nationally, earned a convincing 5-2 win on Friday against the UOIT Ridgebacks. Playing in their first road game of the year in Oshawa, the Gaels were led by four point-performances from forwards Taryn Pilon and Nadia Larocca.
Gaels captain Morgan McHaffie scored a pair of goals against UOIT, including the game-winner in the second period.
Overall, Queen’s was outshot 34 to 22 in the game, as veteran goalie Mel Dodd-Moher stood tall, turning away all 14 second-period shots from UOIT. Despite a late comeback attempt from the Ridgebacks, Larocca put the game away early in the third with her first CIS goal.
The next day, the Gaels returned home to the Memorial Centre to square off against the York Lions. Despite dominating for large stretches, Queen’s fell short in a shootout and lost 3-2, earning a single point.
“As a team, we still have a lot of things to work on, but it’s been nice that we’ve been having some success so far,” said Gaels head coach Matt Holmberg. “You never want to give up the two points and [the York] game just proves that we have some ways to go, but, overall, we’re happy with how things have gone.”
While Queen’s held most of the possession in the opening minutes against York, the Lions managed to settle down and create multiple scoring chances that were stopped by sophomore goaltender Caitlyn Lahonen.
York eventually got on the board first on a wrister from the point with tons of traffic in front of the net.
“There were times when we were really dominating possession-wise, but intermixed in there were some times where we lost our focus,” Holmberg said. “That’s all it took for us to lose out on the two points tonight and we need to learn to play a full 60 minutes.”
Queen’s finally scored at the 5:20 mark of the second period on the first power play of the game for either side. The Gaels had some great puck movement on the man advantage before fourth-year centre Shawna Griffin scored off a scramble in front of the net.
The home side took the lead just a couple of minutes later when Larocca buried the puck past the York goalie on her high blocker side. The Gaels also managed to kill off a five-on-three disadvantage thanks to Lahonen, who made numerous saves from point blank range.
“It was a nice relief to finally score my first goal yesterday, and I got the other one today by getting in front of the net and just finding an open area,” Larocca said. “I just want to help this team win and it was a tough loss, but we’ll just keep improving for next time.”
The Gaels killed off another penalty early in the third period, with third-year centre Chelsey Verbeek making a key shot block. The Lions’ persistence paid off, though, as they tied the game up at two goals apiece with just 7:46 remaining in regulation.
After overtime solved nothing, the Lions edged the Gaels in the shootout. Only Pilon was able to score for the home side, while two Lions beat Lahonen.
“This [shootout] loss hurts a little bit, but we just want to maintain the zero in the [regulation] loss column as long as we can,” Larocca said.
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