Rapid recovery

The women’s hockey team rebounds from a tough loss to take a 6-1 win

Defenceman Shelby Aitcheson defends against the Western offence during their 6-1 win Sunday night in London.
Defenceman Shelby Aitcheson defends against the Western offence during their 6-1 win Sunday night in London.
Credit: 
Supplied Photo by Nyssa Kuwahara
Forward Morgan McHaffie and defenceman Katie Duncan fight for the puck against the Mustangs. Queen’s rebounded against Western after a 5-3 loss to Windsor the night before.
Forward Morgan McHaffie and defenceman Katie Duncan fight for the puck against the Mustangs. Queen’s rebounded against Western after a 5-3 loss to Windsor the night before.
Credit: 
Supplied Photo by Nyssa Kuwahara

The women’s hockey team jumped out to two early leads this weekend on a road trip to Windsor and Western. Queen’s was only able to grab two points on the weekend after the Lancers roared back from 3-1 to defeat the Gaels 5-3 on Saturday. The Gaels rebounded Sunday night against the Western Mustangs with a 6-1 victory to end their western swing.

Forward Becky Conroy tallied the Gaels’ first goal of the night on a shorthanded opportunity that sparked a three goal effort in the first period. Conroy had two by the end of the first with forward Liz Kench scoring what would be the Gaels’ third and final goal of the night. Goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher stopped 22 of 27 shots as Queen’s watched their early lead slip away. The Lancers had four unanswered goals including an empty-netter.

Rookie forward Alex Cieslowski said the Lancers took advantage of the Gaels letting down their guard after the early lead.

“We needed to capitalize more on Windsor and go hard on every shift and not let up,” she said. “That’s when they were able to get some points up on us when we let off a couple shifts.”

Cieslowski helped turn around the Gaels’ misfortunes the next night at Western where Queen’s created the same early lead, but continued with a strong effort throughout the game. Outshooting the Mustangs 16-7 in the first allowed the Gaels to grab the early 3-0 lead with goals by forwards Megan McNutt, Morgan McHaffie and Cieslowski.

Goaltender Karissa Savage lost the shutout with a late goal by Western after facing 20 shots. Cieslowski had her first multi-point night as a Gael, adding a second goal in the second period. Defenceman Shelby Aitcheson had her first of the season and Conroy scored her fifth, both on power play opportunities.

“It was good that the next game we turned it around and put in a hard 60 minutes to pull out a win,” she said. “All our lines contributed during the Western game. We played really well then.”

The Gaels now sit sixth in the OUA with a 10-8-4 record. After a tough beginning to the season, the Gaels have won four of their last six, which Cieslowski said is due to the team dynamic.

“The team’s like a family,” she said. “We’re all really close. It’s so positive in the dressing room. ... It’s fun out there.”

Cieslowski’s first multi-point night against the Mustangs is part of the recent surge in her productivity. With six points in her last four games, she credits her teammates Brittany and Morgan McHaffie with providing her more opportunities on the ice.

“They’re really great to play with,” she said. “They know the ice, they can see well. They know how to make a pass, shoot the puck and we’re just getting pucks on net. [We’re] putting goals in and getting some points up there.”

The Gaels are holding onto a three-way tie for fourth place at 24 points with the Toronto Varsity Blues and the Windsor Lancers. Queen’s faces tough competition in the closing weeks of the regular season with games against the nationally ranked Brock Badgers and Guelph Gryphons.

“There’s a bunch of good teams ... definitely some good teams out in the playoffs,” she said. “We’re definitely becoming a competitive team, one to look out for. I think we need to keep working on our defensive end and getting the puck out and still getting more shots on net that’s how you’re going to score and win games.”

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