Goalie Riley Whitlock switched masks and the men’s hockey team started winning — Tuesday’s 3-2 over the Carleton Ravens win in Ottawa was the Gaels’ fifth of 2012.
The first-year law student stopped 33 of 35 shots against the Ravens. Since picking up a new goalie mask over the winter break, he has a 91.9 save percentage and a 2.5 goals against average in eight games. The team is 5-2-1 in that span.
“Maybe the mask is part of it,” he said. “The paint job was all finished after Christmas and I’ve worn it since then.”
Whitlock has the scale of justice, the Queen’s Coat of Arms and the Fort Henry guard painted on the front.
“I’m in law school, so that’s what the scale is for,” he said. “Since I’m in Kingston, I thought the Fort Henry guard was neat to have.”
The Calgary native had the Rocky Mountains painted on the back.
Whitlock said the team’s improved play is mostly due to the return of previously-injured players. Forward Jordan Mirwaldt has tallied eight points since his return on Jan. 3.
The Gaels recorded 35 penalty minutes during Saturday’s loss to the Toronto Varsity Blues — but they only had eight on Tuesday, killing off all four of the Ravens’ power plays. Head coach Brett Gibson said staying out of the penalty box was important for the win.
“Against the Blues, they weren’t disciplined,” he said. “But last night it was a key to success.”
After beating the fourth-place Ravens, the Gaels are ninth in the OUA East with six games to play — but only three points separate the fourth-place and ninth-place teams.
The Gaels got first period goals from forwards Jordan Soquila and Tyler Moore. They led 2-0 until the Ravens goal made it 2-1 in the second period.
Forward David Chubb scored early in the third period to clinch the win. Ravens’ forward Jeff Hayes scored minutes later, but the Gaels held on to win. Chubb said the looming playoffs are giving his team a sense of urgency.
“Everyone knows what’s at stake every game,” Chubb said.
The Gaels will now hit the road to visit the Ryerson Rams tonight and the Varsity Blues tomorrow.
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