Redmen still too much, Ravens not quite enough

Men’s hockey splits weekend against the McGill Redmen and the Carelton Ravens to break a three game losing streak

With a 6-4 loss to the McGill Redmen at the Memorial Centre, the Gaels are now 4-3-1 and sit fifth in the OUA East.
With a 6-4 loss to the McGill Redmen at the Memorial Centre, the Gaels are now 4-3-1 and sit fifth in the OUA East.

Scrappy play and tight scores characterized Halloween weekend for the men’s hockey team. With two losses the previous weekend the team didn’t want to drop any more points to their OUA opposition. On Friday they hosted the McGill Redmen for a rematch, losing 6-4. The next day they moved to the Cataraqui Community Centre where they beat the Carleton Ravens 3-2 in a shootout.

Friday’s action against McGill had the characteristics of a bitter rivalry. A crowd of 350 came to the Memorial Centre to catch the 125th anniversary of Queen’s hockey and the Gaels gave them a game worth watching.

Unlike the lopsided 7-1 loss last week in Montreal, the scoring went back and forth. McGill struck just 27 seconds into the first but a goal from Gaels defenceman Alexi Pianosi knotted it at one, 8:22 in the first.

The two teams traded goals until McGill went on a tear scoring four unanswered. 7:59 into the third period the count was an uneven 6-2 but Pianosi and forward Jordan Mirwaldt both tallied in the last four minutes to end the game at 6-4. Pianosi’s final goal gave him his first career OUA hat trick.

“The score was okay, I’ll accept that, [but] there were other distractions that led the game to get out of control,” said head coach Brett Gibson.

Penalties were thrown around like candy to trick-or-treaters. McGill and Queen’s combined for a total of 146 minutes of penalty time which included nine 10-minute misconducts.

“If you have that [many] penalties it’s frustrating. Both teams were frustrated and both coaches were frustrated,” Gibson said. “There was no flow in the game because of all the penalties. You’ve got to play it your best when you play McGill and you’ve got to get some breaks. I feel we didn’t get any breaks.”

Saturday afternoon’s tilt against Carleton proved just as competitive though less penalty filled.

The Gaels opened up hard, desperate to get some points after a three-game losing streak. Despite their dominant play, 10 minutes into the game, they remained scoreless.

Just as their momementum peaked the referees stopped play because maintence was required on a section of arena glass. The arena crew struggled to quickly fix the boards sending both teams back in their respective locker rooms to wait for their chance to get back into action.

Gaels goalie Steele De Fazio said the play stoppage influenced the Gaels’ performance.

“We weren’t focused coming out of the break,” he said. “They jumped on us early and got the goal. We had to regroup.”

After the premature break, Carleton found their legs and scored two unanswered goals to break open the scoring.

The Gaels struggled to find the back of the net until forward Jordan Soquila weaved into the offensive zone and deposited a backhand with 25 seconds left in the second.

The Gaels were back in the driver’s seat in the third period, outshooting Carleton 9-4. Forward Scott Kenway scored seven minutes in to tie up the score.

With the score 2-2 neither team could find another goal through an overtime period. Forward Joey Derochie scored in the shootout and goalie Steele De Fazio stopped all three attempts to give the Gaels their first win in the last four games.

“It was definitely a mentally challenging game but our guys persevered in the end,” De Fazio said. “[It was] a big win for us, we definitely need the two points. The guys showed a lot of character by coming back and sitting through a lot of adversity.”

Part of the team’s adversity comes from the injuries piling up at the top end of their roster. Neither Payton Liske nor David Chubb played this weekend and Jordan Mirwaldt sat out the Carleton game after the first period of play. Liske and Mirwaldt both had 40 points in 28 games last season while Chubb had 17 in 27 games.

Team captain Jonathon Lawrance said accommodating for injuries is a team responsibility.

“It’s guys filling spots, lot of guys playing positions or roles that they may not have been playing at the start of the year,” he said. “It comes down to guys filling roles and working hard to make up for the guys not in the line-up.”

The Gaels are back in action at the Memorial Centre on Friday against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. The Gaels will travel to Montreal Saturday to face the Concordia Stingers at 2 p.m.

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