Gaels downed in overtime in first game at nationals

2-1 loss to St. FX sets up must-win game against Calgary tomorrow

Gaels forward Shawna Griffin (18) and defender Katie Duncan battle in front of the St. FX net.
Gaels forward Shawna Griffin (18) and defender Katie Duncan battle in front of the St. FX net.

TORONTO – After three tight periods and nearly eight minutes of overtime, women’s hockey came up short in the opening game of the CIS Championships.

The Gaels fell 2-1 to the second-seeded St. FX X-Women, losing with 2:05 left in overtime after X-Women forward Taylor Dale potted a loose rebound.

Queen’s goaltender Karissa Savage stood tall for the third-seeded Gaels, stopping 39 of the 41 shots she faced to earn Queen’s player of the game honours.

The Gaels got off to a quick start when winger Brittany McHaffie scored just three minutes into the game, putting the team up 1-0.

“It was an important goal,” head coach Matt Holmberg said. “We wanted to set the pace early, and I thought we did a decent job of that.”

Queen’s held the lead until St. FX scored a controversial goal on a scramble in front of the net four minutes into the third period. The Gaels argued that the puck had been kicked in to no avail, as the referee’s call stood.

Despite being more aggressive than St. FX, there were several stretches of play where the Gaels struggled offensively, being unable to break the puck out of their zone or get anything going on the rush.

The Gaels’ usually stellar power play went 0-5, failing to convert on a crucial man advantage in overtime.

“We might change the personnel a little,” Holmberg said. “I don’t think we’re planning on anything drastically different.”

The Gaels will face the fifth-seeded Calgary Dinos tomorrow at 4 p.m., in a game Queen’s must win to keep their medal hopes alive.

Calgary shut out St. FX 4-0 yesterday in round-robin play. All games are being held at Varsity Arena at the University of Toronto.

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