Gaels come up short

Men’s hockey faces elimination after 3-2 loss to McGill in game one

McGill beat Queen’s 3-2 in game one of a best-of-three first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.
McGill beat Queen’s 3-2 in game one of a best-of-three first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

The men’s hockey team pushed the McGill Redmen to the limit on Wednesday night, but still fell 3-2 in Montreal.

After losing to the OUA’s top-ranked team in game one of a best-of-three first-round series, they will play to save their season at the Memorial Centre on Friday night.

“We’re looking forward to it,” goalie Riley Whitlock said after his 29-save performance. “There were a lot of positives from tonight, knowing you can match the top team.”

The Gaels finished the regular season 18 points behind the Redmen, but they almost forced overtime during a last-minute power play on Wednesday.

“There were some mad scrambles, but the puck just wouldn’t go in,” Whitlock said. “We were right there, we just couldn’t get the breaks tonight.”

Gaels captain Jon Lawrance opened the scoring in the first period, but McGill responded with two goals and led 2-1 after 20 minutes.

“The first [Redmen goal] was a power-play shot that went through everybody,” Whitlock said. “The second one came from a good cycle play.”

Although the Redmen went ahead 3-1 early in the second period, Queen’s forward Jordan Mirwaldt scored four minutes later.

“I told them to play in five-minute increments tonight,” head coach Brett Gibson said. “It keeps them focused and it makes them think.”

After Saturday’s 6-4 loss at home to Nipissing, Gibson told the Journal that his team “didn’t even want to win.” He said Wednesday’s game was a different story.

“That’s what’s so frustrating about this team,” Gibson said. “When they want to, they can play with the best in this league.”

Gibson said he’s figured out the Redmen’s style after three losses to them this season.

“They are what they are, they play the same system,” he said. “We did a good job of playing against them tonight, we should give ourselves credit.”

Gibson said the Gaels won’t dwell on the loss for too long — they’re playing a do-or-die game on Friday night.

“You’ve got to have short-term memory loss in the best-of-three,” Gibson said. “We proved tonight we could play with them.”

Game two of the first-round playoff series is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Centre on Friday.

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