Goalie keeps Gaels in game

Losses put men’s hockey in precarious playoff position

The Queen’s men’s hockey team had a disappointing weekend in Quebec, losing 3-0 to Université
de Quebec Trois Rivieres on Friday and falling 2-1 to the Concordia Stingers the following night.

The two losses put the Gaels only one point ahead of both Concordia and RMC for fifth-place with only two games remaining in the season.

Friday night the Gaels delivered a strong performance against an experienced Trois Rivieres team with mostly third and fourth-year players.

The nation’s ninth-ranked team peppered Queen’s goalie Ryan Gibb with 16 shots in the opening period
and 33 in total, but he was solid in keeping the Gaels in the game. Head coach Brett Gibson said he
was encouraged by Friday’s effort. “I thought it was a start to a good weekend,” he said. “I told the
guys that, as long as they give the effort, I wouldn’t be disappointed with a loss. We’ve proven that we
can skate with the best teams in the league.”

The Gaels continue to have difficulty producing consecutive strong efforts, as they fell flat Saturday to a weaker Concordia team. Queen’s took the lead in the first period on a Grant Horvath goal, and carried that lead into the second period before surrendering two power-play goals for the 2-1 loss.

Despite his favourable reaction to Friday’s game, Gibson was frustrated with his team’s effort.

“Every big game this year, we don’t seem to get up for,” he said. “It’s something we’d better find an answer to or we’ll find ourselves on the outside of the playoffs.”

What made the loss even more disheartening, Gibson said, was a five-minute power play that the
Gaels failed to capitalize on. “It was the turning point in the game.”

Gibson was also critical of his leading players. “Our top players played like the game was over,” he said. Gibson optimistically praised his star goaltender’s play, but stressed his team’s need for offense.
“Ryan Gibb can win a playoff series by himself, but he can’t score goals. You can’t win hockey games
with one goal in a weekend.” Despite the losses and the Gaels’ precarious hold on a playoff spot,
the team controls its own destiny heading into the final games of the regular season.

With wins in their last two games of the season at home this weekend, they can guarantee themselves a playoff berth. Otherwise their final position will be determined by the results of Concordia and RMC’s
final games. The Gaels will play Toronto and Ryerson, two teams they have beaten on the road this year. Gibson said his team has already forgotten the losses and is looking ahead.

“We have to move forward. We either have six periods together or we’re done .… That should motivate everyone.
“I know my guys and I’m fully confident that we’ll go into the playoffs on a high note.”

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