Men’s hockey takes devastating blowout loss at home

The Gaels struggle to keep up with the Nipissing Lakers and pay the price

Based on the tightly contested regular season history between the Queen’s Gaels and the Nipissing Lakers it would have been difficult to predict the outcome of their game at the Kingston Memorial Centre last night. By the ten minute mark in the second period the Lakers had taken a dominant 4-0 lead in their first game of a best-of-three playoff series. The Gaels couldn’t find a way to turn things around and the Lakers kept up the pressure, ending the game 7-0 and putting playoff hopes on the brink.

In the three regular season matchups the Lakers took a slight two games to one advantage. Two of the three games went to overtime. The first game was a 3-2 shootout win for the Gaels in October at home. The second two games were in North Bay, Ontario in January where the Gaels lost 5-2 and 3-2 in overtime.

The first period showed signs another close match. Both teams spent a lot of time in the neutral zone vying for position and looking to gain offensive chances. The Lakers gained a shot advantage on the Gaels, mainly based on a number of long shots into the Gaels’ end.

Queen’s was unable to get much going, but maintained a strong defensive front against their opposing forwards. The Lakers broke open the scoring on the power play with 2:30 remaining. The first ended 1-0, with the Gaels still very much in the game. Nipissing’s offense took off in the second period with four more unanswered goals. A quick goal in the first minute of the frame foreshadowed the barrage that was to come. Two more goals went in before the half-way mark, sending starting goalie Steele De Fazio to the bench, an early end to his night.

Frustration was apparent on the Gaels bench as silence settled in the Memorial Centre. At 12:02 Brendan Bureau scrapped with a Nipissing forward and words escalated to blows. The Gaels gained a sustained power play after the exchange, but it was Nipissing that scored shorthanded to take a 5-0 lead.

The Lakers kept scoring in the third to finish off the game 7-0. Jordan Soquila’s penalty shot in with seven minutes remaining could have brought the Gaels a much needed goal and if nothing else an opportunity to break the Nipissing shut out, but that too was denied.

Head coach Brett Gibson said the team lost its composure.

“That was the worst effort we had of the season and its bad time to have it, but you’ve got to take it and throw it out,” he said. “Regardless of the score you’ve got to show up. You can’t just play shinny hockey and that’s what we did. We aren’t good enough to do that.”

The injury-hampered Gaels added two more names to the body count; defenseman Patrick McEachen took a five minute major penalty in the third period, forcing him out of the playoffs. Gaels forward Daniel Mandel suffered a concussion forcing him out for the rest of the season as well. With the number of players dwindling low Gibson has no options with his lineups

“I can’t change lines, I don’t have any guys left in my lineup,” he said. “We are down to 17 players and that is a full 27 man roster [on Nipissing] so I am down 10 players. It just has to be [the players]. We put a game plan in place and they took that game plan and they threw it out.”

The Gaels will travel to North Bay to finish the series on Friday at 7:00 p.m. If the Gaels win, the final game will take place on Sunday.

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