Gaels shut out by Redmen on home ice

Men’s hockey falls to McGill for the second weekend in a row

After last weekend’s 4-1 humiliation in Montreal against the Redmen, the Gaels could use a short bench and lack of home-ice advantage to begin explaining the loss. This weekend, though, the army of Queen’s fans packing the Memorial Centre for the annual match-up were disappointed as the final whistle left the men’s hockey team scrambling for reasons why they went 0 for 6 on the power-play, allowed more than double the shots they took and fell 3-0 on home ice.

“I’m embarrassed,” said head coach Brett Gibson. “It’s not a coincidence that we’ve lost, since I’ve been head coach, nine games in a row to one team. I’ll take a look in the mirror as well tonight when I go home, but it’s definitely not a coincidence. They have a better program than us right now.”

The game started on a slightly worrisome note, as Hubert Morin, McGill’s starting goaltender, was injured four minutes in. It became decidedly rough after that, with players opting to go for the body rather than the puck in most instances leading to a flurry of penalties going to McGill.

The Gaels couldn’t capitalize on those early power play chances, though, and it cost them, as the Redmen scored on their first man advantage midway through the period courtesy of a slap shot from Ken Morin.

Gibson was very critical of his team’s performance when on the power play throughout the game.

“Anything can be better than what it was,” he said. “We didn’t even get perimeter shots. McGill did a great job of keeping everything to the outside.”

The second period was no better for the Gaels. The game calmed down a touch with both teams taking far fewer penalties than in the first, but the Redmen maintained pressure on the Tricolour net, recording15 shots on goal in the period while Queen’s only managed four. McGill scored two goals in 19 seconds from Alexandre Picard-Hooper and Leonard Verrilli to take it from a close game to the beginnings of a blowout.

The third period was decidedly worse for the Gaels, as they received an accumulated 43 minutes in penalties throughout the frame and spent well over half the period on the penalty kill, more or less quelling any chance for a comeback.

In all, the Gaels were outshot 38-17, which Gibson attributed to a lack of effort from Queen’s.

“McGill did a great job. They were hungry and they wanted it more,” he said. “The game was flattering because Brady Morrison stood on his head.”

In terms of improvements, Gibson said his team was in need of more focus as they go into next weekend visiting the 11-1-0 Université de Quebec a Trois Rivières Patriotes.

“We’re going to really have a reality check. We’ve got Three Rivers next week so we’re going to have to find ourselves,” he said. “I know we’ve got character in our room and I know we’ve got leaders in our room, and it’s got to be up to them now.”

Captain Jon Lawrance said he didn’t think the Gaels played up to their potential against the Redmen.

“We didn’t create any offence and we relied on our goalie to stay in the game. … We got outplayed and didn’t really deserve to win the game.”

Lawrance said the number of penalties the Gaels took was a problem that needed fixing.

“It definitely doesn’t help, especially against a team like McGill who have such a good power play,” he said.

Through the first and most of the second, the Gaels managed to play hard in the McGill end. Even though they weren’t getting shots away, Queen’s was presenting a strong forecheck and doing a good job of keeping the Redmen defense on their toes. But during the end of the second and into the third, the Gaels seemed to release the pressure and instead rely on weathering McGill’s attacks, leading them to fall into penalty trouble. Lawrance said that was the direct result of the two goals scored back-to-back towards the end of the second.

“Their two goals in 45 seconds really took a lot of out of us,” he said. “We’re a team that thrives on momentum and once we get going everyone’s into it. Once they scored two goals, we were flat and we had a hard time getting it back.”

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