Mixed results for home opener

Gaels lose in shootout, win in regulation

The Gaels potted three power play goals against Brock, including one from Patrick McEachen (above).
The Gaels potted three power play goals against Brock, including one from Patrick McEachen (above).

Men’s hockey mustered three out of four potential points in their first homestand of the season.

The Gaels lost 2-1 in a shootout last Friday against the York Lions, but Saturday’s game against the Brock Badgers was a different story, as they cruised to a 5-2 victory.

Queen’s now sits with a 1-0-2 record, good enough for fourth place in the 10-team OUA East.

Head coach Brett Gibson was pleased with his team’s performance, especially with his goaltenders, who gave up just three goals combined over the weekend.

Kevin Bailie stopped 20 of 21 shots against York, while Chris Clarke stopped 30 of 32 en route to Saturday’s win.

“It’s going to make it hard on both of them,” Gibson said of his goaltenders’ desire to be the regular starter. “It’ll make our team better because both of them want to play and there’s only one net every night.”

Friday’s shootout loss wasn’t the desired result for Queen’s, but Gibson kept the narrow result in perspective.

“We lost in a skills competition tonight,” he said. “It’s hard to swallow. When you lose in a shootout it feels like the end of the world, but you really battled for 65 minutes.”

A key to the Gaels’ loss was a power play that went just 1 for 6 on Friday. The team’s lone goal came on a York turnover, which forward Harrison Hendrix put into the back of the opponent’s net unassisted.

“We work all week on systems and the guys ran audibles,” Gibson said of his team’s inability to convert on the power play.

The turning point of Saturday’s game, however, came with the man advantage. Queen’s scored three goals to go up 3-0 during a stretch of 7:02 in the second period, including two power play tallies.

Brock made it interesting by scoring a goal late in the second period and another early in the third, but the Gaels added two goals in the game’s final three minutes to seal the deal.

Clarke was content with his team’s ability to string goals together.

“We’ve being playing close games all year – shootouts, OT – so it’s nice to get a lead,” he said. “It puts a little pressure off me as a goalie, it gets me to relax and play a little better.” Clarke’s victory came in his first regular season start with Queen’s, after a junior stint last season with the Halifax Mooseheads.

“Obviously, you like to start off with your new team with a win,” he said. “With it being Homecoming weekend, you like to see all the Gaels teams doing well.”

The Gaels head northwest this weekend for a series of games against the Nipissing Lakers (0-4-0) and the Laurentian Voyageurs (3-1-0).

“We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing,” Clarke said. “If we stick to our systems, I think we’ll do well.”

Instant Replay

The Gaels lost their home opener for the first time since the 2010-11 season. Here are their results from the last two seasons:

Last year, Queen’s started their season off strong, beating the Ryerson Rams 6-3 in a game that was both their season and home opener.

In the 2011-12 season, the Gaels topped the visiting UOIT Ridgebacks 7-2, en route to a perfect weekend.

OUA East Standings

1. McGill [3-0-1] – 7 pts
2. Laurentian [3-1-0] – 6 pts
3. Carleton [2-1-0] – 4 pts
4. Queen’s [1-0-2] – 4 pts
5. Concordia [1-1-2] – 4 pts
T6. Ottawa [1-3-0] – 2 pts
T6. UQTR [1-3-0] – 2 pts
T6. UOIT [1-3-0] – 2 pts
T9. Nipissing [0-4-0] – 0 pts
T9. RMC [0-4-0] – 0 pts

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