The men’s hockey team can’t escape the injury bug.
Defenceman Rob Stellick suffered a concussion on Jan. 24 against the Carleton Ravens and missed this weekend’s games in Toronto. Without him, the Gaels beat the Ryerson Rams 2-1 on Friday, but fell to the Toronto Varsity Blues 1-0 on Saturday.
Assistant captain Scott Kenway suffered an upper-body injury against the Rams and sat out against the Varsity Blues, joining Stellick, forward Payton Liske and forward Joey Derochie in the stands.
“The injury list just keeps piling up, but what can you do?” coach Brett Gibson said.
Stellick missed the entire first semester recovering from hip surgery and played for the first time on Jan. 3. Gibson said it’s unclear when he’ll return to the lineup.
Kenway sat out Saturday’s game as a precautionary measure and said he expects to return soon.
On Friday, the Rams scored four minutes into the game, but Gaels winger David Chubb responded six minutes later. Winger Kelly Jackson scored the game-winning goal on a second-period power play. Goaltender Riley Whitlock made 35 saves.
The Gaels killed off all five Rams power plays on Friday, largely due to Whitlock’s performance.
“The best player on the penalty kill is always the goalie,” Gibson said. “We have a great one in Riley Whitlock.”
But it was Varsity Blues rookie goalie Brett Willows who stole the show on Saturday, making 36 saves to secure a U of T win over the Gaels for the second time in eight days. Willows made 28 saves in his team’s 3-0 win against Queen’s on Jan. 21 in Kingston.
The Gaels moved up to sixth place in the OUA East after the win and the loss. With four regular season games remaining, only four points separate the fourth- and ninth-place teams.
The Gaels will close the regular season on Thursday against the Royal Military College Paladins in the Carr-Harris Challenge Cup, an annual game established in 1986 to mark the 100-year anniversary of the inaugural Gaels-Paladins tilt in 1886. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.
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