Men’s hockey continued their winning ways with a pair of victories on the road over the weekend.
The Gaels defeated the Nipissing Lakers 6-4 on Friday and the Laurentian Voyageurs 6-3 on Saturday to extend their winning streak to three games, tying them for first place in the OUA East division.
Forward Taylor Clements potted four goals in the victory over Laurentian. It was the first time in his hockey career that he scored that many in a game.
“It was a coming-out party for him of sorts,” head coach Brett Gibson said of Clements’ performance. “He’d been a healthy scratch for our previous two games, so it was a bounce-back performance for him as he showed us the kind of player he can be.”
The Gaels started both games similarly, jumping out to 2-0 leads after the first period.
Against Nipissing, they extended that lead to 5-2 after two periods. In the final frame, the Lakers made it 5-4 with two goals in the third, but Patrick McEachen sealed the deal with an empty-netter in the final minute.
On Saturday, Laurentian came back fighting, taking a 3-2 lead early in the third before the Gaels went ahead for good. Queen’s scored four goals in the third period against the Voyageurs, the last three of which came from Clements.
“It’s pretty good to get both wins, as it’s always tough going on the road,” Gibson said. “We set the pace in both games. We did have some lapses, but overall we had solid control of the weekend.”
Netminder Kevin Bailie earned both victories for the Gaels, starting against the Lakers and relieving Chris Clarke on Saturday after Clarke gave up two goals on four shots.
The Gaels have now earned at least a point in each of their first five games, and are the only OUA team yet to lose in regulation, holding a 3-0-2 record.
“I always tell the boys you can’t make the playoffs in the first month,” Gibson said. “But we’re finding ways to win and ways to compete.”
Gibson noted that one of the keys to the Gaels’ success so far has been their ability to commit to the team’s systems that he implements. Clements agreed, proving that even offensive-minded players like himself look to play the entire length of the ice.
“We’re working together well in the defensive zone,” Clements said. “We’re always very focused as a whole.”
The Gaels look to keep rolling this weekend with a road game against Ottawa on Friday and a home game against UOIT on Saturday.
“There’s a big culture change here,” Clements said of the team, which has been in the middle of the pack the past few seasons. “We’re showing everyone that Queen’s hockey is a winning team now.”
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