Men’s hockey drops opener

Women pick up first win of year

Jon Asselstine (8) drives the net looking for a pass from teammate Jon Lawrence on Saturday.
Jon Asselstine (8) drives the net looking for a pass from teammate Jon Lawrence on Saturday.
Don Lougheed

A change of scenery may not have been what the doctor ordered for the men’s hockey team as they fell 4-1 to the Western Mustangs in their home opener at the Memorial Centre Saturday night.

Western outshot Queen’s 63-16, but Gael goalie Ryan Gibb kept the teams even until the Mustangs pulled away in the third period.

Gaels’ head coach Brett Gibson said Gibb’s stellar goaltending gave his team a chance.

“Ryan Gibb kept us in it the whole game,” he said. “As the game went along, we thought we were right there with them.” Queen’s kept the Mustangs off the scoreboard for the first period. But they were outshot 16-5 in the frame, which was a sign of things to come.

Western came out firing in the second period, with forward Sal Peralta scoring a power-play goal only 40 seconds in. The Gaels fought back and tied the game just over 12 minutes later when defenceman Ben Heersink fired home a rebound from the slot. Olsen and forward Jon Asselstine recorded the assists.

The final period saw renewed pressure from the Mustangs and a lack of discipline from the Gaels. After Western scored midway through the period, Queen’s took four penalties in the final 10 minutes, jeopardizing any chance of a comeback. The Mustangs added two power-play goals, with the first scored on a two-man advantage, to ensure a comfortable win.

Queen’s took 14 penalty minutes in the game, compared to the six handed to the Mustangs.

Gibson said he thought penalties were the Gaels’ biggest problem.

“A couple bad penalties really buried us,” he said. “If you take bad penalties, it’s going to come back and bite you.”

Forward Brady Olsen said he thought the Gaels could have won.

“We competed all night,” he said. “I felt that it was totally a winnable game.”

Gibb said the late penalties took away the team’s chance to win.

“In the third period, special teams hurt us,” he said. “When you spend the whole period on the PK [penalty kill] against a powerhouse power play like Western, it’s tough to win a hockey game.”

Gibb said he thought the team performed well.

“Home opener, first game of the season’s always tough, especially against a powerhouse team like Western, one of the better teams in our league,” he said.

Western’s third goal caused controversy when a shot from a tough angle beat Gibb, who vehemently argued with the referee afterwards.

Gibb said he thought the net had been knocked off, so the goal shouldn’t have counted.

“The net was off to begin with,” he said. “I was screaming at the refs for the first part of the play. It was as much my fault as it was theirs—I should have pushed it off or put it back on and kept playing the game—but things like that happen. You can’t really control those situations.”

Gibson said he thought the controversial goal was a turning point in the game.

“Obviously, [the game turned] on that goal,” he said. “I think Ryan thought the net was off, and maybe it caught him at a bad angle. He doesn’t let those goals in.”

The team will go on the road this weekend to play the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks and the York Lions.

The women’s team picked up a 5-1 win in an Oct. 4 game against the Ridgebacks, who are new to the OUA this year.

Head coach Rob Lalonde said getting the first victory of the season was important for the team.

“It was a bit of a relief and a monkey off our back,” he said.

Lalonde said the team’s performance was an improvement on their previous games, where they lost to the Windsor Lancers and tied the Western Mustangs.

“I was quite pleased with a number of things that I saw,” he said. “We forechecked well, we broke out of our own end quite a bit better, we had a number of good scoring opportunities [and] we got scoring from all four lines.”

Liz Kench, Mary McNeill, Victoria Kaufmann, Kori Cembal and Amanda Morra all scored for the Gaels.

Lalonde said he was pleased to see different players chip in with goals.

“It’s nice to know that we’re not relying on one or two lines,” he said. “Any line is capable of making things happen, creating opportunities and being a threat offensively.”

Kench said the team’s play improved from their previous matches, but that they still have a way to go.

“We definitely picked up our game,” she said. “We got a lot more organized on the ice. I wouldn’t say we played our best, but we’ve definitely slowly been taking steps in a positive direction.”

Katie Boyd, who made 21 saves to earn the win for the Gaels, said getting a big win was important to rebuild the team’s confidence after a lacklustre start to the season.

“It was good for the girls to get a big win, a 5-1 win, after a slow start the first weekend,” she said.

The team will host Western and Windsor again this weekend. The Gaels play the Mustangs in Napanee on Friday at 7:30 p.m., and face the Lancers at the Memorial Centre Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Boyd said she’s excited for the rematches.

“I’m pumped,” she said. “We didn’t play well against them last time, so I think we’ve got something to prove this weekend.”

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