Gaels beat Gryphons, Ridgebacks

The women’s hockey team had a successful weekend on the road, overcoming a giant in the Guelph Gryphons and gaining vengeance for an earlier defeat at the hands of the underdog University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks. Queen’s won both games by scores of 3-1.

The last time the Gaels had faced the Ridgebacks in Oshawa, they left after taking a 6-2 hiding. This time, Queen’s was out for revenge and, after an explosive second period in which all three Tricolour goals were scored, a two-goal performance from forward Kelsey Thomson and a 24-save night from goaltender Katie Boyd, the Gaels left victorious.

16 hours later, the Gaels were in Guelph facing off against the undefeated Gryphons. While outshot by ten, the Gaels put in a very consistent effort with seven shots and a goal coming in each period. Two of those goals were again scored by Thomson and the Tricolour earned their second 3-1 win in a row.

Head coach Harold Parsons said the wins showed the Gaels’ character.

“We certainly played better in both games than we have in a while,” he said. “The UOIT game could’ve been a bigger win. We have the hardest schedule in the OUA… so we were very happy with the win in Guelph. The fact that we beat a team that had not been beaten while on the road with that little time between games is a credit to the team at this stage of the season.”

Parsons said the efforts of both Katie Boyd and Melissa John, who played against UOIT and Guelph, respectively, allowed the forwards to focus on scoring goals rather than protecting the net.

“Both goaltenders played solid in both games,” he said. “The confidence of the goaltenders gave the forwards confidence in letting them know they’d give up on soft goals. The goals in both games were scored off deflections, our goaltenders were very focused. It gave the forwards the time and confidence to win both games.”

As for the four-goal weekend had by Thompson, Parsons put it down to the creation of a new line that has been producing.

“For the first time this year, we put together a line made up of girls who’ve been putting up numbers for three years in [Liz] Kench, [Becky] Conroy and Thomson. All three contributed and that was the difference.”

Captain Becky Conroy said that the wins were important for the improving of the Gaels’ confidence.

“They were really good for the team to boost our morale,” she said. “Against UOIT we wanted to prove we were better than last time, and against Guelph we handed them their first loss.”

As for the creation of the line composed of herself, Thompson and Kench, Conroy said it was an eleventh-hour decision that produced gold.

“It was a last-minute decision and we didn’t really have time to put it together,” she said. “But it works and we really enjoy playing together. We’re solid in the offensive end but hopefully we can hold our own in the defensive end.”

With two home games this weekend, Saturday night featuring a rematch against Guelph before Sunday afternoon’s matchup against the Brock Badgers, Conroy said the team has to put some work in on its defensive play in order to be successful.

“It’s just playing our systems and setting getting used to playing our system in the defensive end. If we play our game, I don’t see any team being able to stop us.

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