Vital comeback

Overtime win in Toronto keeps Gaels alive in the OUA top-four playoff hunt

Fourth-year forward Joey Derochie scored the overtime winner in the Gaels’ 4-3 win over Toronto last Saturday.
Fourth-year forward Joey Derochie scored the overtime winner in the Gaels’ 4-3 win over Toronto last Saturday.

It took an comeback road win to snap the Gaels’ three-game losing streak.

Joey Derochie’s overtime winner secured the Gaels a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Varsity Blues Saturday after getting blanked 3-0 by the Nipissing Lakers Friday night.

The Gaels came back from a 2-0 deficit in the second and tied the game at 3-3 with a late third-period goal from captain Corey Bureau.

“Going into the game against Toronto we talked about getting the job done whether it was in regulation, overtime or shoot-out,” Bureau said. “We had to fight through adversity of being down by two early and stayed positive and we ended up getting two points.”

The come-from-behind victory featured some much-needed clutch play late in the game — something the Gaels were previously lacking.

“We needed that kind of break to put us in a position to win and hopefully that gives us confidence moving forward,” Bureau said.

The Gaels fired 32 shots on net against Nipissing, but were stonewalled by Lakers netminder Daniel Spence.

“He stopped [32] pucks, so obviously he played well,” said head coach Brett Gibson. “We threw pucks at the net but the quality chances weren’t there.”

Despite notching 45 combined penalty minutes, neither team were able to capitalize with the man advantage.

In the six games since the winter break, stars Tyler Moore, Kelly Jackson and Corey Bureau have combined for seven goals and five assists. Gibson noted the need for strong performances from his top-line forwards.

“The reason we won that game against Toronto was because our best players were our best players,” Gibson said. “They need to be those guys, or we’re just average.”

Although the Gaels (8-9-4) sit one game below .500, they’re only eight points behind fourth-place Toronto. They’ll face the RMC Paladins at home on Wednesday night before rematches against both Toronto and Nipissing on the weekend.

“Wednesday is a trap game,” Gibson said. “[RMC] really thinks that they’re our rivals so they come out and play hard against us.”

If the Gaels play a similar style going forward, Gibson believes a top-four finish is still within reach.

“I still feel we can move up in the standings and if we put these next few games together against Toronto and Nipissing, we’re right there with them.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.