Gibson’s recipe begins to simmer

The men’s hockey team dusts off its offence in two exhibition wins

Although the offseason rust still lingers, this weekend’s two exhibition wins previewed a talented men’s hockey team. The Gaels only gave up two goals in their games against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Royal Military College Paladins while putting up nine of their own.

Friday’s game at the Cataraqui Community Centre was a fairly solid 3-0 victory over the Gee-Gees. The Saturday game provided a bit more flair as the Gaels faced off against their cross-town rival Paladins in the fifth annual Lou Jeffries Game, an event celebrating the considerable volunteer work of Lou Jeffries in the Gananoque community.

In the battle to honour Jeffries, the Gaels fell behind 1-0 early but managed to rally at the first period’s end with two quick goals. With the score at 2-1, head coach Brett Gibson felt that the team was playing sloppy hockey.

“We are a high scoring team, but we really need to push the pace,” he said. “I honestly thought our first period was pretty awful and I told the guys that we had to push ourselves to go.” With new found motivation the Gaels came out swinging in the second. They put up four more goals in the period to pull away to 6-1. The Paladins couldn’t muster anything more than a meaningless third period goal to fall 6-2. The four goal differential failed to fully describe the dominant edge that the Gaels took over RMC: by game’s end the shots were 57-25 respectively and the Paladins had been completely outworked.

Last year’s scoring leaders Jordan Mirwaldt and Payton Liske look to be picking up where they left off. Against RMC, Mirwaldt tallied three points while Liske contributed with one goal. Mirwaldt and Liske both finished with 40 points last season putting them in a tie for 10th most points in the OUA. Gibson feels that for the team to be successful both players must play to their maximum potential.

“The sky is the limit for them. They are arguably two of the top 10 players in the league,” he said. “They just can’t be complacent; they have to be the best players on the ice for us all the time. They’re both hungry and want it, so they are fun to coach.” Both were integral cogs in last season’s strong offence and must continue to contribute at the same level for the Gaels to have playoff The Gaels controlled the play of the game and maintained a fast and aggressive pace which left the Lions with little to do but watch.

Scrum-half Susan Heald, who scored 15 points on three tries said the key to winning was their strong defence that led to their control of the play.

“We focused hard on defence and from that we were able to secure a lot of possession in the game which led to such a high score,” Heald said. “We were able to execute which started with hard defence.” With games that have shown both their offensive and defensive prowess, Heald said that the Gaels can improve by bringing the two together for a complete team-effort.

“We just wanted to build on what we’ve created so far,” she said. “Our defence was good against Brock and our offence was good against York so hopefully we can just keep building on that and bring it together, having good defence and good offence.”

The Gaels are currently ranked 10th in the CIS.

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