Hockey Gaels left singing the blues

Team routs hapless Ryerson squad, but falls to U of T in crucial game

Men’s hockey had an easy night on Friday against Ryerson, but found themselves in tough against U of T a night later.
Men’s hockey had an easy night on Friday against Ryerson, but found themselves in tough against U of T a night later.
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Divisional games are always huge in OUA hockey, with one third of the season’s games played against opponents within this grouping. After nights like Saturday, the Queen’s Golden Gaels men’s hockey team realized those games can also be hugely disappointing.

The Gaels dropped a 2-1 decision to the University of Toronto Blues on Saturday to fall four points behind division leader RMC, one night after Queen’s thumped the visiting Ryerson Rams 7-1 to pull within two of the Blues.

Queen’s came into the weekend sitting in second place in the OUA Mid-East division, four points behind division-leading RMC.

The Friday night encounter with cellar-dwelling Ryerson was expected to be a surefire blowout, but Ryerson opened the game with some surprising life. The Rams enjoyed several good scoring chances within the first ten minutes, but the spectacular play of fifth-year goaltender Matt Kenney kept the game scoreless.

Queen’s broke through first on the power play, with Andrew Gilbert potting his second goal of the year on a rebound from the side of the net. Just under two minutes later, Mike De Lisio doubled the Gaels’ lead with another power-play goal from the side of the Rams’ net.

The second period was the Brady Olsen show, with a special supporting award going to the pitiful Rams’ defence. Olsen scored just three minutes into the period on a breakaway set up by a nice outlet pass from Cameron Chapman.

The Rams continued to allow the Gaels to run rampant as Cliff Starke added a shorthanded breakaway marker at the seven-minute mark to put Queen’s up 4-0. To add insult to injury, Olsen added one more breakaway goal at the nine-minute mark of the period to give Queen’s a 5-0 lead heading into the final period. The Gaels ended up out-shooting Ryerson 17-5 in the second period.

Queen’s extended the lead to 6-0 on a goal from Brian Moore on which Ryerson goalie Pierre Beaulien had a legitimate case for goalie interference. The Rams got their revenge at the midway point of the third period, when Kenney’s shutout bid was ended by a Chris Pethick shot to the glove side. The Gaels’ six-goal lead was restored with just under a minute to play as Starke netted his second goal of the game on a quick low shot to Beaulien’s glove side.

By virtue of the University of Toronto’s 4-2 victory over RMC on Friday night, Queen’s went into their Saturday night matchup with Toronto needing a win to stay within two points of RMC for the division lead. The Blues came into this game with some incentive, as they sat only six points behind Queen’s with three games in hand.

The fact that both teams had a lot riding on this game was evident from the opening face-off, as they each played a conservative, tight-checking game with few quality scoring chances in the first period. Both teams also played quite disciplined hockey, as only three penalties were called through the first half of the game.

Queen’s was first to crack defensively, as Toronto converted a two-on-one rush when the puck took an unlucky bounce off a Queen’s defender and ended up in the back of the net.

The Gaels tied the score shortly before the end of the second period when Sam Colizza broke in from the left side, and a goal-line scrum ended up with Ben Heersink depositing his first tally of the year. While the period ended tied 1-1, Toronto dictated play for much of the period, with their top line of Smegal, Pallotta and Barg helping them outshoot Queen’s 11-5 in the second.

The game returned to tight-checking form in the third, with both teams appearing content in not allowing the other to score the go-ahead goal. With the match seemingly headed for overtime, Toronto dealt Queen’s a huge blow, scoring the game-winning goal on a point shot that beat Kenney to the glove side with less than two minutes to play.

Queen’s now remains four points behind RMC for the Mid-East Division lead. The 2-1 loss to Toronto on Saturday also snapped Olsen’s goal-scoring streak of four games, during which he had six goals and two assists.

The Gaels will head to Toronto next weekend for two more games against Toronto and Ryerson on Friday and Saturday nights. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.

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