Men's hockey keeps playoff hopes alive

Team will know tonight if the season will continue

Friday’s game was a must-win in the strictest sense for the men’s hockey team. Playing under immense pressure and before a largely hostile crowd at Constantine Arena, the Gaels came through with a three-goal first period and hung on for a 3-1 win over the Royal Military College Paladins.

The victory was the team’s sixth in the last seven games. Head coach Brett Gibson said the team’s play down the stretch is impressive considering their many injuries.

“We’ve been playing playoff hockey for about seven games now,” he said. “These guys banded together. You lose [captain] Jon Lawrance, you lose Matt Hill, you lose Bush [Mike Bushby] , you lose [Clinton] McCullough; it’s looked bleak.”

Gibson said the key to victory Friday night was the play of rookie forward David Chubb, who scored the Gaels’ first two goals and set up Brandon Perry for the third.

“David Chubb was a man on a mission tonight,” he said.

Chubb said linemates Perry and Scott Kenway created his scoring chances.

“My linemates were making great passes,” he said.

The game was a physical one, with the Paladins amassing 70 minutes in penalties against Queen’s 48. Chubb said the Gaels had expected it to be a tough contest given the rivalry between Queen’s and RMC, but they had to keep their emotions in check to avoid suspensions that could have carried over into the playoffs.

“There’s obviously some animosity,” he said. “We kept our cool for the most part. It’s very tough in the heat of the moment like that.”

The win sees the Gaels finish the season with a 12-13-3 record, good for 27 points. They’re two points ahead of the Ottawa Gee-Gees for the final playoff spot in the OUA East, but Ottawa still has two games to play. The Gaels will find out Sunday if they’ve made the postseason.

Defenceman Ben Munroe said the team can be proud of their recent efforts either way.

“We’ve been striving for this for the last six or seven games,” he said. “It definitely is a great feeling to get the weight off our shoulders. We did our part; now we scoreboard-watch, and we’ll see how it goes.”

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