Scoring droughts dry out Gaels

Lack of offense kept men’s hockey team at bay, killed chances of long playoff run

Gaels’ third-year defenceman Patrick McEachen scored 13 points, nearly doubling his total from last year.
Gaels’ third-year defenceman Patrick McEachen scored 13 points, nearly doubling his total from last year.

A lack of goal-scoring ultimately doomed the men’s hockey team.

The Gaels managed only 76 goals, without a single player to crack double-digits. Third-year forward Kelly Jackson lead the team with six goals and 14 assists, good for 72nd in OUA scoring and the only Gael to break the top 100.

Goal droughts meant win streaks were extremely hard to come by.

Without a 20-plus goal scorer like former Gael Payton Liske, they had no way to match OUA East offensive juggernauts like the UQTR Patriotes and the Carleton Ravens.

The Ravens swept the Gaels in two games in first-round playoff action, outscoring Queen’s 12-3.

Despite their lack of goal production, the Gaels weren’t a team to be taken lightly. With an all-star netminder in Riley Whitlock and a solid defensive core, the Gaels were tough to score against. They managed to routinely stick around late in games against more talented opponents.

Their lack of a pure goal-scorer resulted in several one-goal losses, most coming in overtime after blowing a third-period lead or being unable to finish off a late-game comeback.

The Gaels’ inability to score consistently thwarted what is an otherwise well-built team. Head coach Brett Gibson regularly rolled all four lines against top competition with relative success.

If Gibson is able to recruit a top-line sniper, this young team could cause problems in the future. Many pieces are either in place or had significant development this season.

Linemates Jackson and Tyler Moore continued their chemistry from the previous season. Their line was able to consistently produce quality scoring chances through most games.

In his first year as captain, second-year forward Corey Bureau had nine goals and seven assists, maturing into a solid leader during his second season as a Gael.

Third-year blueliner Patrick McEachen’s 13 points nearly doubled from last season. He had significant impact quarterbacking the power play in the new year.

The Gaels’ most important off-season objective must be finding Whitlock’s replacement. Backup goaltender David Aime started three games ­­­— finishing the season with 2.93 GAA and a .905 save percentage — but he’s yet to start an entire season at the collegiate level.

If Gibson can address Whitlock’s departure and find a way for his team to score more goals, the Gaels should have the ability to contend for a top-four finish in the 2013-14 campaign.

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