Hockey turns season around

Men beat Blues and Rams to even record

Gaels’ defenceman Mike Bushby knocks down a Ryerson forward Saturday in Queen’s 4-3 win.
Gaels’ defenceman Mike Bushby knocks down a Ryerson forward Saturday in Queen’s 4-3 win.

The men’s hockey team got their season back on track this weekend with a pair of home wins. The Gaels beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 4-2 in Napanee Friday and garnered a 4-3 win over the Ryerson University Rams at Kingston’s Memorial Centre Saturday.

Jon Asselstine, Mike Bushby, Blake Pronk and Gaels’ scoring leader Brady Olsen scored for Queen’s against U of T, who beat them 1-0 in Toronto a week earlier. Mark Heatley, the younger brother of Ottawa Senator Dany Heatley, and Alex Nagribianko replied for the Varsity Blues.

Queen’s goaltender Ryan Gibb, who made 45 saves for the win, said the team’s offence was much improved over the previous week.

“The team played really well,” he said. “We responded really well to last weekend’s disappointment. It was good to see the offence clicking.”

On Saturday, the Rams capitalized on a Queen’s giveaway in the defensive end and Kevin Day scored his second goal of the year to give Ryerson a 1-0 lead with 4:41 remaining in the first. Rob Catallo replied for Queen’s after a scramble in front of the Ryerson goal to tie the game heading into the period break. Asselstine scored a rebound four minutes into the second period, but Ryerson’s Josh McNair scored on a shorthanded breakaway, ripping a slapshot over Gibb’s left shoulder to level the score at 2-2. With 59 seconds remaining in the second period, Gaels’ captain Jeff Ovens scored a power play goal to give them the lead heading into the third.

Gibson said he told his team to smarten up during the second intermission.

“I told them I was sick of soft plays,” he said. “We had to be hard on the puck, get pucks deep, stop making stupid mistakes.”

With 1:21 remaining, a Ryerson meltdown allowed forward Jon Lawrence to enter the Ryerson end completely unchallenged and, after three attempts, score a shorthanded goal to give Queen’s a 4-2 lead. McNair ripped his second of the game past Gibb with no time on the clock, leaving the final score at 4-3.

Gibson said his team’s discipline won the game.

“[The Rams] were a tough team,” he said. “They were really scrappy, but we got some great goaltending and we didn’t take stupid penalties, so we were bound to come out on top.”

Gibson said he didn’t agree with the final goal call.

“We should have had two straight 4-2 wins but we still got the two points.”

The two straight wins over division rivals give Queen’s a record of 4-4-0-1.

Gibson said he’s pleased with the way the season has gone so far.

“If you’d told me at the start of the season that we’d be at .500, I’d have been ecstatic,” he said. “Every game we lost at the start of the season was close, now we’re back to .500 and able to win tight games.”

Gibson said the team is getting used to playing home games in different arenas.

“We’re not kidding ourselves,” he said. “We’re playing 28 road games this season … but that brings teams together. It gives us a wolf pack mentality. It’s hard to practise on one rink and play on another, but we just have to go in and do our jobs.”

Gibb, who shone this weekend with 79 saves in two games, said it feels great to beat Toronto and Ryerson.

“They were two teams we have to stay ahead of for a playoff spot.”

Olsen said Gibb’s play motivates the forwards.

“We need to start scoring more goals for him, and it’s happening now,” he said.

“With him stopping the puck like he does, it makes us want to generate more offence and get more wins for him.”

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