Over the weekend, the men’s hockey team (10-3-0) completed their four-game home series with two decisive wins over the Laurentian Voyageurs (5-7-0) and Nipissing Lakers (3-9-0).
“This weekend we started playing the way we wanted to play,” Head Coach Brett Gibson said of his team’s success on Friday and Saturday. After spending the past two weeks with Hockey Canada at the World under-17 Hockey Challenge, Gibson was back behind the bench for Queen’s.
Starting off the weekend against Laurentian, the Gaels snuck out a 3-2 victory over the Voyageurs. After going down 2-0 in the first period, the Gaels rebounded in the second, with forward Graeme Brown scoring a power-play goal. Keeping the pressure on, Queen’s fired 30 shots at Laurentian in the second period alone.
In the third, Queen’s put the Voyageurs away with goals from forwards Ben Fanjoy and Slater Dogget in the period’s first six minutes. Queen’s held the lead until the final buzzer.
“I think the score wasn’t indicative of how we played,” Gibson said, referencing the Gaels’ 52 total shots.
On Saturday, Queen’s put up a similar performance against Nipissing, winning handily 7-2. The Gaels’ offence was on full-throttle early with forward Mason Kohn scoring three minutes into the game. Doggett followed closely behind, five minutes later, scoring his second of the weekend.
Scoring two more in the second and another three in the final period, Queen’s ended the game with 50 shots on net. The team did, however, face 44 shots on net—42 of which goaltender Jack Flinn saved.
Both the Gaels’ performances against Laurentian and Nipissing were a marked difference from their prior play. Last weekend, for instance, they gave up 112 shots over two games against the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes.
Gibson said his team took a new approach to their strategy in practice over the past week.
“We had to change our mindset,” Gibson said. “We had to check and not defend and I felt against UQTR we defended … if you’re defensive you’re on your heels and if you’re checking you’re on the offensive.”
“I think we flipped the script this weekend.”
The wins this weekend gave the Gaels their fourth straight victory—and seventh in nine games.
With four matches remaining until the winter break, the Gaels are headed into a vital stretch. Currently ranked second in the OUA East and seventh in the country, Queen’s will travel to Oshawa to take on the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (8-5-1) on Thursday and will return home to play RMC (3-10-1) on Saturday night.
However, the Gaels also have their eyes set on the following weekend, where they’ll play the undefeated University of Ottawa Gee-Gee’s (10-0) and the Carleton Ravens (8-2-3). The teams currently round out the OUA East’s top three.
While the Gaels continue to perform well against the league’s top teams, Gibson said they have a long way to go.
“I like where we’re at, but not in love,” he said.
“[There’s] lots of work to do.”
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