This weekend, the men’s hockey team skipped the turkey and festivities for two hard-fought home games against the Carleton Ravens and the Ottawa Gee Gees, with mixed results.
The Gaels opened their regular season at home against the Ravens on Friday in a 4-3 loss. The Ravens quickly overwhelmed the Gaels without their captain, defenseman Patrick Downe, who was out with an injury early in the first period, putting three consecutive goals on the board in the first 20 minutes of the game.
While the Gaels came out strong in the second and third periods with a comeback attempt lead by Gaels’ top scorer last season Eric Ming, they were unable to overcome the Raven’s lead.
However, head coach Brett Gibson didn’t blame Friday’s loss on the team’s youth, but rather on mistakes made by the returning players.
“I think our veterans need to be better. On the first goal [for the Ravens], it was a veteran mistake. On the second goal [for the Ravens], it was a veteran mistake. Those guys have got to lead the way for us. They started slow and you can’t play catch up against a really good team,” Gibson said.
On Saturday night, the Gaels sought redemption at the Memorial Centre against the Ottawa Gee Gees. While the Gaels started ahead with a goal from Ming, the Gee Gees quickly caught up and overcame the home team.
The Gaels managed to mount a successful comeback in the final period, with three minutes left to play on a backhand from Harrison Hendrix. Ming led the way with two goals, with Hendrix and Slater Doggett adding a goal a piece. The Gaels finished the game victorious with a 4-2 win.
While the season is still young, there’s a lot to look forward to in this year’s team.
Spencer Abraham, the third-year star defenseman, had an impressive performance this weekend. Abraham made news this fall when he traveled to Sunrise, Florida to take part in the Florida Panthers training camp before returning to the Gaels’ blue line this season.
Abraham had 28 points last season and lead the team with 19 assists. Abraham recorded his first point this season with an assist on Harrison Hendrix’s game-winning goal against the Gee Gees.
Coach Gibson said the performance forwards Ming and Slater Doggett carried the team this weekend.
“They would be first to admit they did not have a good pre-season but we had some great dialogue over the week leading up to opening weekend and they came through in a big way.”
Coach Gibson isn’t worried about the team’s performance for the remainder of the season, thinking that lineup changes and the games this weekend will inspire growth.
“We’ve got to get better every night,” Gibson said.
The Gaels next play at the Memorial Centre during Homecoming weekend against the Nipissing Lakers at 7:30 p.m.
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