Mediocrity met in Montreal

Goaltending key heading into first-round showdown with second-place Carleton

Men’s hockey wrapped up their regular season in underwhelming fashion.

They managed only one point last weekend on their Montreal road trip, losing to the Concordia Stingers 3-2 in a shootout Friday and getting blasted 7-3 by the UQTR Patriotes on Saturday.

After the Gaels took a 2-0 lead against the top-ranked Patriotes on goals from forwards Kelly Jackson and Joey Derochie, two straight power play tallies quickly led to five consecutive UQTR goals.

“The biggest thing [to guard leads] is staying out of the box,” Gaels defenceman Patrick McEachen said. “You can’t expect to beat nationally ranked teams if you’re undisciplined.”

Special teams were the Gaels’ bread and butter against Concordia on Friday.

Queen’s came back from a two-goal deficit late in the third period. Both goals came on the power play, and Jordan Mirwaldt scored the game-tying goal with 57 seconds left in regulation.

The Gaels also went 4-4 on the penalty kill, but were unable to come away with a win in the shoot-out.

“We had the momentum going into overtime and the shootout,” Gaels goaltender Riley Whitlock said. “It really is just a skill-based event and we just couldn’t execute that night.”

Queen’s finished the regular season with a 10-11-7 record and 27 points, good for seventh seed in the OUA East.

They’ll begin a best-of-three playoff series against the CIS ninth-ranked Carleton Ravens tomorrow night.

The Gaels lost both regular season contests to the Ravens by a combined score of 7-3.

“They’re a big physical team — probably the most physical in our division,” Gaels head coach Brett Gibson said.

Team speed will be essential to counteract the Ravens’ physical, grinding style of play. Despite being significant underdogs, Gibson believes his team has the X-factor in Whitlock.

“I think if you put it on paper, they have the advantage in every category but the goaltending,” he said. “This is [Whitlock’s] last go around and he really needs to be the goalie he was last year.”

Gibson is adamant his team won’t advance without stellar play from his netminder.

“He’ll obviously have to steal a game for us in the series.”

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