No wins, no problems

Men’s hockey takes the positives from winless Maritime trip

Men’s hockey captain Jon Lawrance stickhandles against the Western Mustangs in last October’s home opener. The Gaels open their regular season against Western Saturday in London.
Men’s hockey captain Jon Lawrance stickhandles against the Western Mustangs in last October’s home opener. The Gaels open their regular season against Western Saturday in London.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Despite over 24 hours on a bus and three losses, men’s hockey team captain Jon Lawrance said their trip to the Maritimes for some exhibition play was time well spent.

“Overall, it was a good experience,” he said. “We got to see a lot of teams we don’t normally play. … It kind of gave us a good idea of where we were at.” The men lost to three Atlantic University Sport teams, falling 4-3 to the St. Thomas Tommies in a shootout Friday night, losing 5-1 to the Acadia Axemen Saturday and suffering a 7-0 loss to the St. Mary’s Huskies Sunday.

Lawrance said the first game against St. Thomas, where the Gaels fell behind early but fought their way back to force overtime, was particularly important.

“We kind of expected it would be a rough start after the bus ride down there,” he said. “We were able to take a lot of positives from coming from behind.”

Lawrance said fatigue also proved a factor against Acadia.

“We played two good periods,” he said. “We had gotten in at 3:30 a.m. the night before, so we kind of ran out of gas in the third period.”

Lawrance said the Huskies and Axemen still have better programs than the Gaels, but Queen’s is starting to catch up.

“Over the last two or three years, it’s come a long way from what it had been,” he said.

Head coach Brett Gibson said there’s still a significant gap in quality between most OUA teams and AUS teams, though.

“Any time you go down and play Atlantic Canada, you’re in tough,” he said.

Gibson said he was more concerned with his team’s play than the numbers on the scoreboard.

“I don’t care what the score is,” he said. “It’s about doing things the right way. … We turned the puck over way too much.”

Gibson said he was inspired by the team’s comeback in the first game, though, and he didn’t mind that they lost in a shootout because of the arbitrary nature of that event.

“Our guys aren’t going to quit,” he said. “Those shootouts are great for fans but they put grey in my hair.”

Gibson said Queen’s is getting closer to the level of powerhouses like St. Mary’s and Acadia.

“It’s all about the recruiting,” he said. “This year I got 11 top quality players simply because we were a winning program. … They didn’t know anything about Queen’s, but they knew we were a playoff team and last year, a division-winning team.”

Gibson said consistent success is the real key to building a strong program, though.

“I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder team,” he said. “I want to be a team that’s consistently winning.”

The team’s regular season starts tomorrow, when they will travel to London to take on the Western Mustangs in Western’s Homecoming game. Gibson said the Maritime road trip prepared the Gaels for that experience.

“They’re not going to be any better than what we found in the Maritimes,” he said.

“We’re going there to spoil a party.”

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