Hockey plays ‘Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’

Gaels fall to Waterloo and Laurier, sit six points back of a playoff spot with only seven games to go

The men’s hockey team continued its downward slide last weekend, losing 4-0 to the University of Waterloo Warriors Friday and 6-1 to the Laurier Golden Hawks Saturday. The loss to Laurier was the team’s fifth defeat in a row and brought their record to 6-13-2.

“When you’re going through a slump like we are, when it rains, it pours,” head coach Brett Gibson said.

Those losses have come against stiff competition, though. The Gaels’ downturn started with a loss to the 11-5-4 Concordia Stingers in their last game before the break and continued with two losses to the fifth-ranked Lakehead Thunderwolves (13-3-2) last weekend before they fell to Waterloo (11-4-2) and sixth-ranked Laurier (17-2-1). Gibson said the strength of the schedule is the prime reason for the slump.

“We’ve gone through a tough stretch, obviously,” he said. “No team in the country’s played a harder schedule than we have.”

Queen’s struggled Friday against Waterloo, only recording 15 shots on rookie goalie Pier Pelletier and going zero-for-eight on the power play. Brady Morrison made 41 saves on 44 shots in the loss. Gibson said the team wasn’t driving to the net hard enough.

“We just played on their perimeter all night,” he said. “If you go to those areas and you score, you don’t feel the bumps and bruises.”

The game turned chippy partway through, with 62 minutes in penalties assessed (32 to Queen’s) and several big scrums after whistles. Gibson said he was happy to see his team show some intensity through their physical play, even if it led to penalties.

“That’s just frustration,” he said. “They showed me at least they have heart, they care.”

Penalties proved to be the Gaels’ downfall against Laurier Saturday, though. Queen’s was assessed 26 minutes in penalties to the Golden Hawks’ 16, and Laurier scored four power-play goals on 13 opportunities. Gibson was unimpressed with the officiating.

“That was the worst-refereed game I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “It’s unheard of to have 13 power plays against. The ref took it into his own hands.”

Gibson said the final result didn’t reflect his team’s effort, though, and their play should bode well for their next game Friday against the 6-15-0 Royal Military College Paladins.

“The score was not indicative,” he said. “If we have that effort against RMC, we’ll win.” Gibson said he feels the team is playing well in most areas, but it isn’t reflected on the scoresheet. They have only 34 goals in their 21 games.

The Gaels are second in their division, but have a difficult fight to make the playoffs. They sit six points back of the division-leading University of Toronto Varsity Blues (9-9-2) and are also six points behind the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (8-8-4), who currently hold the final playoff spot in the OUA East.

But Gibson said the team’s youth means they still can see positives from this year even if they fail to make the playoffs.

“We’re in a rebuilding stage,” he said. “With a young team, you have Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You never know what team will show up.”

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