Still at the top

Perfect regulation record persists on road

Women’s hockey kept a hold on first place in the OUA with a three-point weekend road trip.

On Saturday night, the nationally third-ranked Gaels visited the Waterloo Warriors (3-4-1) and dominated from start to finish in a 5-1 win.

The line of Clare McKellar, Shawna Griffin and Courtenay Jacklin was especially lethal, combining for four goals and seven assists to lead the way offensively for Queen’s. Third-year winger Taryn Pilon had the other goal for the Gaels.

“Right from the beginning, we had a lot of jump and energy and that’s always a good thing, especially on a road trip where you get off the bus, go to the rink and play right away,” said Queen’s head coach Matt Holmberg. “The team was ready to go and played [a] good 60 minutes of hockey.” McKellar potted both of her goals in the first period, while Griffin and Pilon scored in the second frame, giving the Gaels a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Playing in just their second road game of the season, Queen’s looked strong in all phases of the game. Jacklin put the game away for good in the third period just 16 seconds after Waterloo scored, giving themselves a glimmer of hope.

The Gaels were disciplined penalty killers on Saturday, as the Warriors went zero for five on their power plays.

Queen’s killed off three more chances against Laurier on Sunday, and currently ranks second in the OUA in penalty killing, at 94.1 per cent.

Last season, they successfully killed off only 81.7 per cent of their penalties, the third worst in the OUA.

Holmberg said there were multiple reasons for the team’s improvement while shorthanded.

“We did target penalty-killing as something that we needed to improve on,” he said. “We’re also doing our best to stay out of the penalty box.

“The other thing is that we have some new players coming into the team who have already stepped into penalty-killing roles and have done a great job.”

On Sunday, the Gaels faced off against the OUA powerhouse Laurier Golden Hawks (6-2-0). Despite a listless first period in which they gave up a goal in the first minute of the game, Queen’s rallied to take a point after a 3-2 shootout loss.

The Gaels were outshot eight to one in the first period, but held a 27-14 shooting advantage for the rest of the game.

Captain Morgan McHaffie tallied a power-play marker late in the second period, while Griffin scored nine minutes into the third to give the Gaels a 2-1 lead.

Queen’s gave up the equalizer, though, with less than seven minutes left in regulation.

The Gaels continued their strong play into overtime, but were unable to solve Laurier netminder Amanda Smith, who was solid in net. Smith also stopped all four shots in the shootout, while Robyn Degagne beat Mel Dodd-Moher to give the Golden Hawks the win.

Queen’s returns home this weekend to face the Toronto Varsity Blues (6-1-1) and Ryerson Rams (3-5-0) at the Memorial Centre.

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