Gaels recover after Redmen

Men lose 3-1 to McGill in a packed house, beat Ottawa 2-1 Saturday

Men’s hockey lost 3-1 to the McGill Redmen at home in Jock Harty on Friday.
Men’s hockey lost 3-1 to the McGill Redmen at home in Jock Harty on Friday.
Photo by Anne Kloosterman
Queen’s defenders deflect a puck into their own net Friday.
Queen’s defenders deflect a puck into their own net Friday.

In what could have been a disastrous weekend for the Gaels, the men’s team showed they can compete with the best in the nation. After a 3-1 loss to rivals the McGill Redmen in a jam-packed
Jock Harty Arena on Friday, the Gaels rebounded with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Ottawa Gee-Gees
on Saturday.

McGill is third in the OUA East and Ottawa is fourth. “I’m proud of the guys. We
worked hard and we showed that, if we get in a playoff game, we can compete,” head coach Brett Gibson said after Friday’s game.

“Like I’ve been saying all year, Ryan Gibb is the heart and soul of this hockey team. We are going
to go as far as he’ll carry us,” Gibson said. Gibb said he’s just doing his job.

“It is an important position. … Everyone sees what you’re doing. I just want to give the guys a chance
to go back down and score.” He stopped 80 of 84 shots through the weekend. But Friday’s game proved that sometimes you need more than just great goaltending to win. With less than three minutes
gone in the first period on Friday night, McGill forward Teddy Kyres threw the puck towards the net and it was deflected into the goal by a Queen’s defender.

“It didn’t bring us down, but it put us in a hole,” Gibson said. “Those are the kind of goals that lose you games. We needed breaks and we just didn’t get them.” McGill scored again halfway through the period on the power play.

Queen’s Jamie Brock brought the Gaels back within with a goal at the 14-minute mark in the first period. After a scoreless second period, McGill scored an insurance goal five minutes into the third.
Halfway through the period, McGill was penalized three times in a row, giving the Gaels a two-man advantage for more than two minutes. Queen’s had five shots during the prolonged power play, but none of them found the back of the net.

Gibson said the team’s failure to capitalize on the chance was the end of the game for Queen’s.
Gibb said he felt the score was not indicative of the kind of game the Gaels played. “The McGill game was a great rivalry … but it wasn’t a 3-1 game. It was a lot closer.” Saturday’s game was a more
decisive affair. Ten minutes into the first period, Patrick McDonough put Queen’s up 1-0. But a defensive mix-up on Queen’s end led to a goal by Ottawa with 42 seconds left in the period.
Late in the second frame, Jeff Ovens redirected a set up from TJ Sutter and Brian Moore to notch
the final goal of the weekend. With the win, Queen’s is only one point behind Ottawa for fourth place in the eastern conference standings. “We closed a gap,” Gibson said. “We control our own destiny.” Six playoff spots are available for the eight teams in the conference. Division leaders will be the top seeds and also receive a bye into the second round. The third and fourth seeds receive home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. McGill is the front runner for the third seed in the eastern conference, with Ottawa and Queen’s fighting for fourth place.

Gibb also said the win bodes well for the rest of the season. “We beat one of the better teams
in the division and we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves right now,” he said. “I definitely see us getting four to eight points out of our next four games. We’re really looking for home ice in the playoffs.”

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