Down & up

Special teams lead way on western trip

The Gaels sit first in the OUA in power play percentage.
The Gaels sit first in the OUA in power play percentage.

For the first time this season, women’s hockey fell in regulation.

The Gaels (9-1-3) lost 6-3 on the road against the Windsor Lancers (6-5-1) Saturday, but rebounded with a 2-1 shootout win against Western (7-4-1) the next day to remain in first place in the OUA.

The Gaels’ power play shone against Windsor, scoring twice on the man advantage for only the second time this year.

Third-year winger Taryn Pilon scored the first power play goal, tying the game at 1-1 13:53 into the first period, less than two minutes after Windsor opened the scoring.

The Gaels took their only lead of the game early in the second period when Pilon set up rookie Jessica Wakefield.

However, the Lancers responded with ferocity, peppering Queen’s netminder Mel Dodd-Moher with 13 shots in the second period, scoring on two of them.

“We got up 2-1 in the second period then there was an injury to a Windsor player that stopped the play for about 15 minutes,” head coach Matt Holmberg said. “That break seemed to give Windsor a little jump for whatever reason, and they seemed to have our number for the rest of the period.” Queen’s failed to start the third period strong as Mary Coughlin and Morgan McHaffie were penalized for tripping and slashing, respectively.

While the Gaels killed off both penalties, including almost a minute of five-on-three play, the floodgates opened for Windsor just a few minutes later.

“We were perfect on the penalty kill again and we even managed to score two power play goals, but they had our number on five-on-five today,” Holmberg said.

Lancers forwards Bree Polci and Erinn Noseworthy scored within 30 seconds of each other to put the game away at the halfway point of the third period. Noseworthy scored a hat-trick on the day, while Jenny MacKnight, the leading scorer in the OUA, added three assists for the Lancers.

McHaffie tallied a power play goal late in the game to round out the scoring.

On Sunday, the Gaels successfully killed off five more shorthanded chances against Western in a penalty-filled affair, in which the two teams combined for 28 penalty minutes.

Queen’s had 44 shots on net against Western, but Wakefield was the only Gael to score in regulation, 29 seconds into the third period.

The Mustangs evened the score seven minutes later. After overtime solved nothing, the Gaels headed into a shootout for the fifth time this season.

In the shootout, Pilon — the Gaels’ first shooter — scored, while Dodd-Moher turned away all three Western attempts.

With the win, Queen’s improved to 1-2 this year in the shootout.

Before the weekend started, Queen’s announced that Holmberg had signed a long-term contract extension to stay at the helm of the program through the end of the 2017-18 season.

“Obviously, I’m very happy with [the extension] because this job is a passion of mine and I have a love for this school,” Holmberg said. “We have a big group of first years this year — there’s 11 of them — and signing an extension means I can see them develop and grow throughout their careers.”

Queen’s will travel up north this weekend to face the Laurentian Voyageurs (5-7-0) tomorrow and the Nipissing Lakers (4-8-0) on Sunday.

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