Top of the table

Pair of northern road wins ensure first-round bye, home-field for playoffs

Queen’s has secured first place in their division, but they’re aiming even higher.

The Gaels beat the Nipissing Lakers 2-0 on Saturday and topped the Laurentian Voyageurs 4-1 on Sunday. With a record of 10-1-2, they’ve assured themselves a first-round playoff bye.

“It’s nice to clinch first,” head coach Chris Gencarelli said, “but our objective was to make the Nationals, and that’s still our objective. We’re still looking ahead.”

The Gaels drew first blood against Nipissing in the 25th minute on a goal from striker Eric Koskins.

Midfielder Adrian Rochford increased the Gaels’ lead early in the second half, converting on a chance from the top of the 18-yard box.

The Gaels controlled the majority of the game against Nipissing, allowing the Lakers only three shots on goal.

“We came out strong, worked really hard, and won a lot of first and second balls,” Gencarelli said. “We really applied pressure on them early, creating some good scoring opportunities.”

In Sunday’s game against Laurentian, the Voyageurs opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a 25-yard blast from Stephen Fattore.

The Gaels responded before half time with a goal from Lucas Lobo to tie the game at 1-1.

Lobo continued where he left off in the second half, giving Queen’s the lead with another goal in the 70th minute.

With four goals scored in the last four games, Lobo has begun to fulfill expectations.

“We always knew he was a quality player,” Gencarelli said. “He’s really starting to come into form late in the season, and could be someone who could really push us to the next level when it comes to the playoffs.”

Nick Pateras and Chris Michael each added a goal before the final whistle.

Next Sunday, the Gaels will host the Trent Excalibur in their final regular season game — a match that Gencarelli plans to treat like any other.

“We’ve done a good job of taking each game one at a time,” he said. “We’ll focus on possessing the ball well, moving it quickly and staying solid and organized defensively.”

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