On Saturday, Memorial Centre was reminiscent of Richardson Stadium during a football game. The game was played in celebration of the Ice Wolves—Kingston’s girls hockey association team—and the Gaels joined the Queen’s Bands to pull out all the stops.
Queen’s met U of T twice this weekend and lost both games. However, Friday and Saturday could not have been more different.
On Friday, the Gaels struggled to score and ended with a 5-2 defeat. Queen’s didn’t get on the board until the middle of the second period, and by then, U of T already had scored four points.
On Saturday, the Gaels met the same team, on the same ice, but something had changed.
“I can say I’ve never played in a stadium like that with all the support we had, so it was really exciting,” Captain Quinn Johnston said in a postgame interview with The Journal.
The Queen’s Bands brought the oil thigh, highland dance, and bagpipes to the 72-year-old arena. The Kingston Ice Wolves brought unique hand-drawn posters, unabashed excitement, and lots of high-fives for the Gaels.
Together, these groups changed the atmosphere. The Gaels, in turn, changed their approach to playing the Varsity Blues.
U of T started off the scoring two minutes into the first period, but Queen’s refused to let them take the same four-point lead they had the night before. Instead, Rebecca Thompson scored to tie it up with just seconds left in the first.
The Gaels started off the second period with lots of rush opportunities, but couldn’t convert those plays into points. Queen’s held their own despite struggling to find the back of the net.
“After last night, they were exactly the team we thought they were going to be. They’re relentless pressure, they play a really strong team game, and they capitalize on mistakes,” Head Coach Matt Holmberg said in a post-game interview with The Journal.
“Nothing that happened on Friday that really resulted in us changing our game plan, I just didn’t feel like we executed it really well on Friday. We just need to be a bit better, and although it didn’t result in points today, I think we were certainly better today than last night.”
The game plan came alive when Sophie Hudson found the back of U of T’s net near the end of the second to give Queen’s their first lead of the weekend.
“The team was not happy with losing [Friday] night, so they were a bit pissed off and wanted a different result,” Holmberg said of Saturday’s game.
In the end, Queen’s anger didn’t result in a victory, but it did show they have what it takes to compete alongside U of T—the first ranked team in the OUA East.
“I think the team competed very well and there are a lot of takeaways,” Holmberg said.
“I think we can say with confidence and not any bluster that we can compete with any team in the country. We just need to take another, I think five per cent of our game, to get us there.”
doubleheader, Ice Wolves, Memorial Centre, OUA, U of T, women's hockey
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