Men’s hockey falls to RMC

Gaels fall into a three-goal hole and can’t climb out at Royal Military College

Defenceman Ben Muroe and RMC forward Mike Soros settle an argument during the Gaels’ 4-1 loss to the Royal Military College Paladins on Wednesday night at RMC’s Constantine Arena.
Defenceman Ben Muroe and RMC forward Mike Soros settle an argument during the Gaels’ 4-1 loss to the Royal Military College Paladins on Wednesday night at RMC’s Constantine Arena.

Penalties and angry benches characterized Wednesday night’s men’s hockey game at the Royal Military College’s Constantine Arena. 

The RMC Paladins gained a 3-0 lead over the Gaels halfway through the second period. In the teams’ last meeting on Jan. 6, the Gaels fell behind by two goals but rallied for a 5-2 victory. They couldn’t complete a similar comeback on Wednesday.

The Gaels’ 4-1 loss saw 76 combined penalty minutes between the two teams, including three game misconducts. Gaels’ centre Jeffrey Johnstone was ejected in the first period after a checking to the head penalty.

Gaels head coach Brett Gibson said the officiating interfered with his team’s play.

“I thought it was the worst referee I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. “The referee shouldn’t be reffing in this league. He’s not into it, he’s out of shape, can’t keep up with the play and he has no respect for the players on my team. It makes it frustrating to play like that.” Gibson said there weren’t any positives to mention in the 11-10-1 Gaels’ game against the 5-12-3 Paladins.

“Absolutely nothing,” he said. “The best thing about this game is that it’s over. You throw out the trash.”

Gibson said Steele De Fazio’s goaltending wasn’t to blame. In six games, De Fazio holds a 3.51 goals-against average. Previous Gaels goalie Mackenzie Ball had a 4.72 goals-against average during 16 games. The Paladins’ goals were all scored on odd-man rushes and deflections.

“I don’t think he had a chance on any of the goals,” Gibson said. “I think he played well. [De Fazio] was probably the only guy that did play well for us.”

Defenceman Robert Stellick said the Gaels lost control of the game.

“We sort of just sat back and felt sorry for ourselves,” he said. “The refs will come, the calls will come. I feel like tonight there were some calls against us and we didn’t really respond with [our game].”

The Gaels outshot the Paladins 37-32 but didn’t register a goal until centre David Chubb scored in the third period. The Gaels scored in the second period but the goal was disallowed because of a high sticking call.

The Gaels are 2-1-1 against the Paladins this season. The Paladins are eighth-place in the OUA East and 12 points behind the fifth-place Gaels, but Stellick said the Gaels are always challenged by RMC.

“We seem to be snake-bitten when it comes to RMC,” he said. “We feel we’re ahead of them in the standings because we deserve to be ahead. We just need to match their grinding style of play and their work ethic with our work ethic.” Defenceman Stephane Chabot said the Gaels have to maintain composure to win games.

“You have to keep your head in all situations,” he said. “I think we lost it for a bit tonight. [It] kind of came back to haunt us.”

The Gaels look to snap a two-game losing streak tomorrow when they travel to North Bay to play the Nipissing Lakers at 5 p.m.

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