Four goals, four points

Converting offensive chances keeps Gaels unbeaten on road

Queen’s first doubleheader of 2013 produced their best showing of the young OUA season.

The Gaels secured a win and a tie in their annual weekend trek to Sudbury and North Bay, drawing 1-1 with the Laurentian Voyageurs on Saturday and blanking the Nipissing Lakers 3-0 on Sunday.

It’s the first time Queen’s (2-1-1) has taken their northern road trip before October since 2008. While the sheer distance traveled and unfavourable weather conditions are traditionally challenging, the squad managed to remain unbeaten in three road contests.

“We played our best two games of the year, for sure,” said head coach Chris Gencarelli. “Playing Laurentian and Nipissing at home, they’re always two teams that are hard to take points from.

“Our objective was six points, but we’ll take four away from this road trip.”

Second-year striker Tommy Hong netted two goals on the weekend, including Queen’s lone tally against the Voyageurs (3-1-2). His 81st-minute finish drew the Gaels level at 1-1, 15 minutes after Laurentian’s Joel Levac scored off a set piece.

79' GAELS GOAL - Hong takes the ball over top rounds the keeper to finish. 1-1 #gogaelsgo

— Queen's Men's Soccer (@QMSoccer) September 14, 2013

Queen’s directed nine shots at Laurentian keeper Thomas Guscott, generally controlling the run of play and threatening to claim a late lead. Aside from Hong’s marker, the breakthrough never came.

“At Laurentian, we created a ton [of chances] and just couldn’t put the ball in the net,” Gencarelli said.

The Gaels’ fortunes changed at Nipissing (2-4-0), starting with a deflected free-kick goal from midfielder Oliver Coren just before the halftime whistle. Gencarelli lauded Coren for his play throughout the weekend, along with teammate Henry Bloemen.

Coren later set up rookie striker Chris Wellsman for his first OUA goal in the 84th minute, while Hong potted his second of the trip in the 89th.

Great performance from the lads. Credit to Gencarelli and co. who preached patience and promoted good footballl. #theGeneral

— Queen's Men's Soccer (@QMSoccer) September 15, 2013

Netminder Dylan Maxwell stopped six shots against the Lakers, earning his second clean sheet of the season. Nipissing hasn’t scored against Queen’s in seven straight games, dating back to 2009.

While fortifying the Gaels’ defensive line remains an early-season priority, Gencarelli said, Maxwell and the back four rebounded well from the set-piece concession against Laurentian.

“There’s always room for growth, even though they’re primarily fourth-year defenders,” Gencarelli said. “It was definitely one point of discussion we talked about prior to [the Nipissing game] ― being a bit stronger, being mentally sharp.”

Queen’s now returns to Kingston for their first weekend home stand of the season, after falling 2-0 to the Carleton Ravens at West Campus on Sept. 4.

The Gaels will face the unbeaten Ryerson Rams (3-0-1) next Saturday and the Toronto Varsity Blues (1-2-1) on Sunday, with a pair of 3:15 p.m. kickoffs.

Oct. 9, 2009...

…was the last time Nipissing scored a goal against Queen’s in men’s soccer play. They’ve been shut out seven times since.

Much has occurred in Gaels sports since the Lakers’ last marker. Here’s a short sample:

- Queen’s football won their fourth Vanier Cup.

- Women’s soccer won two CIS championships and advanced to another national final.

- Men’s soccer has played 59 games, including playoffs. They've conceded 57 goals in that period.

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