Two points, no wins

Goalies excel in regulation, but Gaels lose twice after overtime

First-year forward Patrick McGillis reaches for the puck in Saturday’s game against UOIT.
First-year forward Patrick McGillis reaches for the puck in Saturday’s game against UOIT.

Men’s hockey continues to be stymied by the shootout.

The Gaels suffered a pair of shootout losses over the weekend, losing 2-1 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Friday in the nation’s capital and dropping Saturday’s home contest against the UOIT Ridgebacks 3-2.

Three of the team’s four losses this season have come in the shootout. They’re now 0-3 in that format.

“It means we’re getting a point, which isn’t a bad thing,” said assistant coach Andrew Haussler. “But I think it is getting a bit frustrating for us. You need to find some wins in there, because we’re leaving a lot of points on the table.”

One positive from the weekend was that the Gaels extended their impressive point streak to seven games, which dates back to the start of the regular season.

Queen’s sits tied with the Carleton Ravens for second place in the OUA East with 10 points — one behind the 2011-12 national champions, the McGill Redmen.

“We’re doing a lot of things really well,” Haussler said. “Our structure’s very good, our defence and our goaltending are very great.”

Head coach Brett Gibson continued to make use of his goaltender tandem, starting Kevin Bailie on Friday and Chris Clarke on Saturday.

The pair had a solid weekend, giving up just three goals in regulation on a combined 78 shots.

Yet the Gaels were only able to score three goals of their own on the weekend.

“We know we’re going to have to battle to score goals,” Haussler said. “We just need to stick to what works for us and not drop the ball, not get off track for a 10-minute period that can cost us a point or a game.”

Forward Andrew Wiebe scored the Gaels’ only goal against Ottawa, tying the game at 1-1 6:35 into the third period.

The Gaels came out strong against UOIT on Saturday, scoring 2:33 into the first period on forward Kelly Jackson’s shot from about 10 feet out, his team-leading fifth goal of the year.

Queen’s then increased its lead to 2-0 with a goal from defenceman Chris Van Laren in the second period.

Nate Mitton responded with a goal 8:33 into the third period for the Ridgebacks. Shortly after, a costly too many men penalty for Queen’s led to a UOIT power play goal, tying the game with just under five minutes remaining.

“It’s a bit of a learning curve,” Haussler said of the penalty. “Guys need to relax and maintain their focus. I think too many guys are too eager to get going and next thing you know, we’ve got too many skates on the ice.”

Kelly Jackson said the Gaels needed a stronger offensive output to earn a victory.

“Not being able to capitalize on opportunities [cost us],” he said. “We have to play a complete 60 minutes and we’ve yet to do that this year, really. It’s a good thing we got two out of four points, but at the end of the day, it’s a missed opportunity.”

The Gaels were set to return home for a pair of games this weekend against the Toronto Varsity Blues and Ryerson Rams — two former division opponents who switched to the OUA West this season.

The Rams, however, were suspended for two games by Ryerson for consuming alcohol on a road trip. They’ll forfeit their game against Queen’s on Saturday, while the Gaels and Blues will play on Friday.

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