Hockey surges late in the season

Men clinch playoff spot with wins over Ryerson, Toronto

Brady Olsen scored three goals and made one assist over the Gaels’ winning weekend.
Brady Olsen scored three goals and made one assist over the Gaels’ winning weekend.

The men’s hockey team clinched a playoff spot with two huge wins at Jock Harty Arena last weekend.
The Gaels posted a sound 3-1 win over Ryerson on Friday night and the team mounted a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over the University of Toronto on Saturday.

The wins mean the Gaels will face Ottawa in a best-of-three series starting Wednesday in Ottawa.

Head coach Brett Gibson said it was a crucial weekend for the men. “I found out a lot about my hockey team this weekend.” Friday night’s game started slowly, but the Gaels’ sense of urgency eventually showed itself. After a scoreless first period, Brady Olsen scored twice in six minutes to
give Queen’s a 2-0 lead.

“In this league you can’t afford to go into a slump. [The season] is too short,” Olsen said after the
game, adding, “I was in a pretty good one until this weekend.” Gibson said Olsen was looking like his old self this weekend. “I challenged Brady on Tuesday. … I didn’t feel like he was skating,” he said. “Brady can be a good player when he’s not skating, but he can be a great player when he is skating.” Olsen’s second goal came on what he called a “hometown bounce.”

With Ryerson goaltender Pierre Beaulieu out of the net to play the puck, a funny bounce off the boards
gave Olsen a wide open net to put it in. Jamie Brock scored early in the third to give the Gaels a
commanding lead, but Cory Konechy broke Queen’s goaltender Ryan Gibb’s shutout bid with just more than 10 minutes left in the final frame. On Saturday, the Gaels played with confidence but surrendered the first two goals, scored four minutes apart in the first period.

Undeterred, Queen’s continued to press and was rewarded with what Gibb called “one of the nicest
goals of the year” by Pat Doyle at the end of the first period. Olsen scored in the second period to tie the game, and with five minutes remaining in the third period, he set up Jon Asselstine on a 2-on-1 to secure the win. Olsen said he and Asselstine had instant chemistry the moment they were put on a line together. “We seemed to click. … We use each other’s speed to move the puck.”

Gibson said he was pleased that the change paid off.

“Jon Asselstine came into his own this weekend. … That line made me look good.”

The comeback win against one of the country’s top teams has the Gaels riding a wave of momentum
into the playoffs.

Olsen said the Gaels’ comeback was a product of the team’s development over the course of the season. “It’s funny, because I think at a different time of the year we wouldn’t have turned it around,” he said. “Team morale lately has been really high. … We knew we would get our goals eventually.”
After two big wins, Gibb said the Gaels are ready to do some damage in the post-season.

“We definitely don’t feel like the underdog going into any series,” he said. “Teams won’t be very excited to play us right now.”

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