Gaels take T.O.

Queen’s pots 12 goals in weekend games

Defenceman Katie Duncan clears the puck in the Gaels’ 6-2 win against the York Lions Saturday night.
Defenceman Katie Duncan clears the puck in the Gaels’ 6-2 win against the York Lions Saturday night.
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The women’s hockey team returned to Kingston for the first time since the holiday break and grabbed four points over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the York Lions last weekend. The Gaels scored early and often, beating the Blues 6-1 on Friday and the Lions 6-2 on Saturday.

Along with their 12 goals scored over the weekend, the Gaels controlled play in their opponents’ end while Mel Dodd-Moher and Karissa Savage split goaltending duties allowing only three goals on 48 shots. Six different Gaels scored goals this weekend including forwards Morgan McHaffie and Becky Conroy who had two each.

“It’s a great way to start the 2011 year,” forward Kelsy Thomson said. “We’ve got some great line combinations going on out there. Every line’s working hard, scoring and producing ... we’re going in the right direction.”

Thomson was the Gaels’ top offensive performer, scoring a hat trick in their Saturday game against York and finishing the weekend with seven points. Thomson had been the Gaels’ scoring leader and is now third in the OUA in points with 24 over 20 games with six goals coming in her last five games.

Thomson said she credits a lot of performance to her line mates, fellow fifth-years Becky Conroy and Liz Kench. Conroy had been injured since the first game of the season and had only returned in an exhibition game against the Concordia Stingers on Jan. 4.

“[Kench] and [Conroy] definitely were feeding me the puck and we definitely had some good chemistry out there,” she said. “It’s definitely good to see Conroy back out in action. She’s definitely contributing. I’ve played with her for the past three or four years so it’s kind of nice to have some comfort out there from Conroy.”

With four wins in their last five games, the Gaels are off to a great start but were still reminded of their lopsided 8-1 loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks.

“After a tough loss like Laurier, you can go either way,” Thomson said. “Tuesday we had practise and we all gathered together and realized it sucked that it happened but we weren’t going to let it beat us. It’s kind of nice to see us embarrass a couple of teams out there this weekend. It comes and goes both ways.”

Head coach Matt Holmberg praised his team for their ability to rebound from their biggest loss of the year. “It was big for our team to put that behind us, learn from the mistakes of that game and then move forward and I think the girls did that,” he said.

With big wins against Toronto and York this weekend, the Gaels are finally seeing their efforts rewarded. The Gaels have routinely out shot their opponents but remain in the middle of the pack in goals scored with 45.

“We’re finally capitalizing on some of our chances,” Holmberg said. “Early in the year, we were getting lots of shots on net and they just weren’t going in.”

The holidays offered a needed rest, which has obviously benefited the team. They look to get back on track and add momentum and confidence to their play before the end of the regular season.

“We started to play some better hockey just before the holidays which gave us more confidence,” he said. “It made [everyone] even more eager to come back. … We did have some injured people but coming back from the break, we felt confident and rested up.”

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