Double-overtime heartbreak for men's hockey

De Fazio makes 54 saves, but Gaels lose to Carleton in best-of-three series

Tuesday, Feb. 23 - 3:45 p.m.

The men’s hockey team finally got their power play going, but it wasn’t enough. The Carleton Ravens knocked the Gaels out of the OUA playoffs with a 3-2 double-overtime win in Ottawa on Sunday.
Head coach Brett Gibson said the Gaels can hold their heads high despite the loss.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my guys. To lose in double-overtime—those guys were equals out there and we just came out on the wrong end of it. They never quit, they never gave up and it was a great performance.”

Gibson said the best-of-three series was a good learning experience for his team.

“Game one was an emotional game. We went into a building where we were an underdog and we learned how to play in overtime and won,” he said. “Game two was another learning experience that I feel we dropped the ball and we didn’t match their desperation.”

The Ravens dominated the game during regular time, taking 38 shots to the Gaels 22. In all, Gaels goaltender Steele De Fazio made 54 saves in the loss.

He said the result was tough to swallow.

“I thought we really played a really good game, probably the best of the season. We really laid it out on the table but I guess it just wasn’t our year,” De Fazio said. “It was a pretty fast hockey game and there were a lot of shots for both teams. Carleton changed their plan over the series and they took more shots and threw more bodies in front of me.”

Carleton got the scoring started with a goal from defenseman Robert Mark Smith, but the Gaels evened the game by the end of the first on a power-play goal from forward Payton Liske. The second period was scoreless.

With four minutes left in the third period, Ravens forward Andrew Self took an interference penalty, setting up Gaels forward David Chubb’s power-play goal with 3:15 left in the game. But with 54 seconds left in regular time Self redeemed himself by tying the game up, sending the Gaels and Ravens into their second overtime of the three-game series.

The Gaels dominated the first overtime period, forcing Ravens goaltender Alex Archibald to stand on his head more than once.

Almost mirroring the first game of the series, the game went into a second overtime and, with eight minutes left, Ravens forward Ryan Berard found himself in space and notched the game-winner.
The Ravens made a point of taking the body over the puck throughout the series.

De Fazio had to remove his helmet to rub the snow out of his eyes on more than one occasion during the three games after getting after-the-whistle snow showers from Carleton forwards, which he said showed the respect the Ravens had for his goaltending.

“They definitely started to do it a lot more as the series progressed but they were just played a hard-nosed hockey game and it was a compliment to me that they needed that to get some pucks in the net,” he said. “I don’t know if they were running me, but they were screening me and making me work to make saves as the series progressed.”

De Fazio, who didn’t play until January for eligibility reasons, said the season was a success despite the loss.

“It feels like I’m just getting going now, so it’s tough that the first one’s over. But we’ve got a great group of guys and we’re a young team, so I know everyone’ll be excited to get out to camp to start next season.”

Gibson said next season’s already beginning for him, as he’s already taking to the road on recruiting runs.

“We’ve got to get another goaltender to back Steele up. We had a great season, but we need someone to compete for that backup job,” he said. “We had our best recruiting year ever with Payton Liske, Jordan Mirwaldt and Stephane Chabot. I couldn’t ask any more of them. It’s going to be exciting to fine-tune our lineup.”

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