Home win away from home

Playing in Napanee, the Gaels continue their winning streak

Women’s hockey pulled out a win in what will probably be their strangest home game of the year.

Unable to play at the Memorial Centre Saturday afternoon due to a conflict with ice time, the Gaels [4-0-1] instead travelled to Napanee for their game against the Guelph Gryphons [3-2-0].

The change in scenery didn’t impact the Gaels at all, as they were able to beat Guelph 3-1 to improve their winning streak to four games.

“For a mid-October game, both teams came to play,” said head coach Matt Holmberg. “I thought it was a pretty fast-paced, hard-checking game between two pretty good teams.”

First-year winger Clare McKellar stood out for the Gaels, notching a pair of goals to bring her total on the year to four. Fellow rookies Jessica Wakefield and Megan Farrell added assists on McKellar’s first tally.

Holmberg said having the team’s first-year players contribute offensively is a big help to a team that lost several high-scoring players.

“While we didn’t expect people to come in and instantly replace the offence that we lost, there are a couple of rookies, including Clare, who are certainly doing a good job of stepping up and spreading out the offence,” he said.

The game was a big step up in competition for the young team, as the Gryphons were the first nationally-ranked team the Gaels have faced this season.

Holmberg said he was impressed by Queen’s performance against an upper-tier squad.

“We’ve gotten off to a good start, but this was the first of the five games we’ve had against a team that’s ranked nationally,” he said. “It was a good test for our team, and I’m happy to say we passed.”

Goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher stood tall in net for Queen’s, stopping 23 of the 24 shots that came her way and making several solid plays early in the game.

“When the game was close, 0-0 and 1-0, she made some really outstanding saves,” Holmberg said. “It’s really great to know we’ve got that veteran presence back there.”

Alongside the rookies, a few veterans helped produce offence for the Gaels. Winger Courtenay Jacklin scored Queen’s other goal, while centre Shawna Griffin added two assists.

Queen’s is currently the only team in the OUA without a regulation loss. They have a chance this weekend to avenge the lone blemish on their record when they face the UOIT Ridgebacks on the road Friday, before hosting the York Lions on Saturday.

While the York game marks a return to the Memorial Centre for the Gaels, Holmberg said the team enjoyed playing in Napanee.

“It was a fun little mini-road trip for us, even though it was a home game,” he said. “That was a fun little aspect to make it almost a mini road game.”

OUA Standings

1. Western [5-1-0] – 10 pts
2. Queen’s [4-0-1] – 9 pts
3. Laurier [4-1-0] – 8 pts
4. UOIT [4-2-0] – 8 pts
5. Windsor [3-2-1] – 7 pts
6. Toronto [3-1-0] – 6 pts
7. Guelph [3-2-0] – 6 pts
8. Waterloo [2-2-1] – 5 pts
9. York [2-3-0] – 4 pts
10. Ryerson [1-3-0] – 2 pts
11. Laurentian [1-4-0] – 2 pts
12. Nipissing [1-4-0] – 2 pts
13. Brock [0-5-0] – 0 pts

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