Seamless transition

Women’s hockey victorious in first game back after break

Queen’s scored with under two minutes left in overtime to claim both points against York.
Queen’s scored with under two minutes left in overtime to claim both points against York.

After a strong exhibition showing, women’s hockey kept the momentum going in their return to OUA play.

The nationally fourth-ranked Gaels started the new year with a bang, capturing first place at Concordia’s Theresa Humes Tournament over the winter break. Queen’s defeated a trio of teams from the RSEQ conference, outscoring Carleton, Ottawa and Concordia by a combined 11-3 margin.

The Gaels carried the positive momentum into their first regular season game of 2014, earning a 2-1 overtime road victory against the York Lions (4-11-2) last Saturday.

“We hadn’t played a competitive game in over a month and the tournament allowed us to shake off our rust before we played our first league game, which was very important,” said head coach Matt Holmberg.

While the score remained close throughout the game, Queen’s had the majority of offensive chances against York, outshooting the Lions 45-24. Only a standout performance from Lions goaltender Megan Lee ensured that the home team left the game with a single point.

Blueliner Alisha Sealey scored her first goal of the season early in the second period to give the Gaels a 1-0 lead, but York’s Lindsey Cochrane managed an equalizer near the midway point of the third period to send the game into overtime.

“It ended up being a little bit closer than we hoped, but we had the majority of possession,” Holmberg said. “I thought the game could have been more in our favour but their goalie played very well.”

Having lost three of five overtime or shootout games this season, the Gaels outshot the Lions 6-0 in the extra frame. With less than two minutes remaining in the extra period, third-year centre Shawna Griffin scored her 10th of the season to earn the extra point.

“We just need to bury our chances when it gets to overtime,” Holmberg said. “Obviously, I’d prefer to win in regulation, but learning to win in overtime is also a good thing, because come playoffs, there won’t be any more shootouts.”

With the win, the Gaels improve to 13-2-3 and remain in first place in the OUA, one point up on the second-place Laurier Golden Hawks (13-2-2). Holmberg said one of the Gaels’ goals for the winter semester is to lock up a top-four spot in the OUA – and the home ice advantage that comes with it – as fast as possible.

“We played a lot of games in the first half, so the other teams have a few games in hand on us,” Holmberg said. “We’ll have to make the most of every game left in the season to get home ice.”

The Gaels now have a week off before hosting the Waterloo Warriors (6-7-4) and Laurier (13-2-2) on Jan. 24 and 25, in their final regular season games at the Memorial Centre this year.

OUA Standings

1. Queen’s [13-2-3] – 29 pts
2. Laurier [13-2-2] – 28 pts
3. Guelph [13-3-0] – 26 pts
4. Toronto [12-4-1] – 25 pts
5. Western [10-6-1] – 21 pts
T6. UOIT [9-7-1] – 19 pts
T6. Windsor [9-7-1] – 19 pts
8. Waterloo [6-7-4] – 16 pts
9. Laurentian [6-10-1] – 13 pts
10. Brock [5-10-1] – 11pts
11. Nipissing [5-11-1] – 11 pts
12. Ryerson [5-12-0] – 10 pts
13. York [4-11-2] – 10 pts

Morgan McHaffie Record Watch

With six games left in her OUA career, Gaels captain Morgan McHaffie is nine points back of the all-time career scoring record.

1. Elizabeth Chiasson, Queen’s Gaels (2001-05)
62 G-93 A-155 PTS

2. Morgan McHaffie, Queen’s Gaels (2009-14)
68 G-78A- 146 PTS

T-3. Lori Dupuis, Toronto Varsity Blues (1991-97)
58 G-78 A-136 PTS

T-3. Jules Stevens, Queen’s Gaels (1985-92)
72 G-64 A-136 PTS

5. Lisa Backman, Laurier Golden Hawks (1997-01)
82 G-52 A-134 PTS

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