Up & down they go

Men’s hockey rebounds from a slow start only to collapse in the third

David Aime stops a UQTR shot on Friday at the Kingston Memorial Centre in the 7-4 loss.
David Aime stops a UQTR shot on Friday at the Kingston Memorial Centre in the 7-4 loss.

Last Friday at the Kingston Memorial Centre, when Gaels forward Kelly Jackson scored on a breakaway with 17:23 remaining in the second period, it looked like Queen’s had finally taken the steam out of the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes. The goal was the fourth unanswered for the Gaels who had climbed back from a 0-3 deficit to lead 4-3. Unfortunately the heroics wouldn’t hold; the undeterred Patriotes stormed back in the third to win the game 7-4 sending the Gaels home with a bitter taste in their mouth.

Slow starts have been a common theme this season for the Gaels. They have only scored first in three out of their eleven games and depend on their offensive resilience to find the way back. A 3-0 UQTR lead after the first would put them to that test once again.

Four straight UQTR penalties early in the second presented Queen’s with the perfect opportunity to right the ship. Forwards Joey Derochie and Kelly Jackson both pocketed power play goals to push the game to 3-2.

The success on the man-advantage brought a spark to their even-strength play. Just a minute after the second goal was scored Derochie scored another on a beautiful backdoor pass from teammate Robert Stellick.

With the score tied 3-3 the Gaels had regained their swagger. Jackson sniped a breakaway chance into the top right of the UQTR net and the Gaels finally took the lead, 4-3.

The dominance of the second couldn’t last for the final period of the game. UQTR gave the Gaels a taste of their own medicine scoring four straight and outshooting them 17-7 to run away with a 7-4 win.

Assistant head coach Andrew Haussler said the team simply didn’t maintain their level of intensity in the third.

“[UQTR is] a good team and they capitalized on breakdowns. We took our foot off the gas for a second and they jumped all over us,” he said.

Coming into the season, the goaltender situation seemed too good to be true for the Gaels but thus far neither David Aime nor Steele De Fazio has really proven to be a starter. Aime got the start on Friday but again failed to impress, finishing with six goals against and a .860 save percentage.

Haussler said Aime’s goaltending has been volatile.

“Dave is a lot like our team; he shows moments of brilliance and like our inconsistency he can be like that too.”

Haussler also emphasized that the goaltending woes are a result of more than any one individual’s faults.

“Both goalies and our defensive players as a whole all have to put it together for a full 60 [minutes],” he said.

The one positive the Gaels can take out of the weekend game was the return of forward Payton Liske. Liske had been out since Oct 23 with an undisclosed injury. He finished the game with zero points and a penalty but team captain Jonathon Lawrance said his return will be greatly beneficial in the long run.

“[He] is a big part of this team. He provides that instant offence that can really change a game,” he said, adding that as the team gets healthy, they’ll gain some more consistency.

“Without [Liske] and Mirwaldt and a few of the guys out, we’ve had to work a lot harder to score goals. When we get them back it’ll put a few guys back in roles they are more comfortable with and take some of the pressure off the offensive side,” he said.

The Gaels hope to improve their record on the road this weekend against Guelph.

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