Two-one losses have been the name of the hockey Gaels’ game so far this season.
Coming off a tight loss to York, the Gaels were hoping to get their first win of the season on the road at Brock on Saturday. Queen’s knew, however, that their hands would be full with the unbeaten Badgers, and that Saturday would be a test of their skills. After 60 minutes, however, the Gaels were again on the losing end of a 2-1 decision.
Starting in net was Mike Studli, who didn’t see much action in the first period. The opening frame saw both teams play undisciplined hockey, with Queen’s collecting four minor penalties. Brock also racked up four, including a 10-minute misconduct by Dallas Beaton. At the end of the period, 13 shots had been fired, eight by Brock and five by Queen’s, but both teams skated off the ice scoreless.
The undisciplined play continued into the second period as each team logged four more penalties. However, Brock was the team able to capitalize on their powerplay when forward Chris Knighton scored the game’s opening goal at 12:45.
The third period opened with Queen’s pressing, furiously trying to get the tying goal. Finally at 8:12, forward Brady Olsen scored to tie the game. Queen’s, who lost their first two games of the season by a single goal each time, knew they were again part of a low-scoring affair.
Penalties again hampered Queen’s and at 16:17, Knighton netted his second of the game, a powerplay goal which turned out to be the game winner.
The loss was another heartbreaker for the Gaels—their third straight 2-1 loss in as many games this season. Nevertheless, players said, there were a lot of positives to be taken from the game.
“When we were at full strength, five-on-five, we played very solid hockey,” said defenceman Mike De Lisio. De Lisio added that the team could improve in their next game by capitalizing more on the power play, as well as being more offensive-minded.
“With eight power plays, it’s too bad we didn’t make better use of them, since we must convert on some if we want to have more success,” De Lisio said.
“Hopefully next game we can keep up the strong defence and score a few more goals to give us the advantage.”
Centre Cliff Stark said he agreed with De Lisio that the five-on-five was very good, yet said he felt that his team could see fewer penalties in the box score.
“We had far too many penalties against Brock and we paid the price, both goals being on the penalty kill,” Stark said.
“[Our] defence was very tight, doing a great job in the neutral zone,” Stark added. “If this type of play continues it will give Queen’s a good chance to always be in the game.”
Head coach Kirk Muller said he was quite pleased with his team’s effort, even though the standings show Queen’s at the bottom.
Muller was quick to point out that defensively, Queen’s has only allowed two goals each game so far.
“The excellent defence was very evident in our penalty killing, and I hope we can maintain this level throughout the season,” Muller said.
However, Muller saved most of his praise for goaltender Michael Studli.
“Mike played a great 60 minutes, and was a major reason why we were in the game until the very end,” Muller said.
He also noted a few improvements his team could make for the upcoming game, primarily in the offensive department.
“We need to work on putting more pressure on the opposing team, and do a better job of getting the puck at the back of the net,” he said. “Our tempo could also be a bit faster, as our players are very capable of being a step or two ahead. We just have to be more consistent about it.”
Looking ahead, Muller said he was excited to be back home at Jock Harty Arena today. He added that despite starting the season with three tough losses, the Gaels are still only three points out of first place.
Queen’s hopes to turn their season around and pick up their first win against the Guelph Gryphons at 7:30 p.m.
Tonight’s game will open with a laser light show during player introductions, so fans wishing to catch this should arrive early. The night is sponsored by Coca-Cola, who will be conducting giveaways, including a 20-inch Sony television. Fans bringing in a cap-liner from a Coca-Cola product will be eligible to enter the contests.
Saturday’s game will feature a Halloween theme, and cash prizes will be given out for the best costumes.
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