Rebound performance leads to upset

Queen’s tops nationally-ranked squad in final home game of the year

The Gaels dropped decisions to the country’s top teams in their final homestand of the year.
The Gaels dropped decisions to the country’s top teams in their final homestand of the year.

Fresh off its most disappointing loss of the season, men’s hockey earned its most satisfying victory of the year.

After falling 2-1 Thursday night to the last-place RMC Paladins in the Carr-Harris Cup, Queen’s rebounded with a resounding 4-2 victory over the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes on Saturday in their final home game of the season.

“Everybody on the team wanted to have a way better effort tonight than on Thursday,” said Gaels forward Patrick McGillis. “It sets the tone for us going into the playoffs. We’re going to try to have a good week of practice here and gear up for the playoff run.”

UQTR entered Friday with a 13-game winning streak, first place in the OUA and a fifth-place national ranking, but was upended by Carleton the night before losing to the Gaels, falling to third in the OUA East. Meanwhile, Queen’s retained its fourth place spot in the division and, with the win, clinched home advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

McGillis scored twice and added an assist to lead the Gaels offensively. He now has 12 points in 12 games in 2014.

“Some nights it goes in for you and some nights it doesn’t,” he said. “It was a team effort and we’ll take the two points.”

McGillis started off the scoring just under four minutes into the first period, sparking the Gaels’ offence. Queen’s failed to capitalize on the goal, surrendering a pair of second-period goals and trailing 2-1 heading into the third.

Captain Corey Bureau tied it up for the Gaels 1:12 into the third, and McGillis scored his second of the night, the game-winner, just over three minutes later. The remainder of the third period was a high-intensity, playoff-like atmosphere that helped solidify Queen’s reputation as an elite defensive team.

“The guys were pretty tired out there,” McGillis said, “but that’s what it comes down to. The hard work and the sweat and the blood, getting pucks out of the zone, blocking shots. That’s what it takes to get to the next level.”

Forward Kelly Jackson added an empty netter for Queen’s in the game’s final minute to seal the deal.

Head coach Brett Gibson praised McGillis for strong all-around play throughout the contest.

“He was our best player out there in all aspects,” he said. “He really stepped up on the penalty kill as well as his points.”

Goaltender Kevin Bailie stopped 30 shots for the Gaels as he earned his 11th victory of the season.

The victory was especially satisfying for the Gaels as they had recently faced troubles with other top teams McGill and Carleton, going a combined 0-4 against the two squads.

“I know we’re able to compete with top teams,” Gibson said. “I never doubted that once.”

The Gaels finish off their regular season with a rematch on the road against UQTR on Saturday.

“It’ll be interesting to see what both teams do to adjust,” Gibson said. “To beat that team, you have to play almost perfect and that’s what we did. We’ll see if we can do it again up there.”

OUA East Standings

1. McGill [20-5-2] – 42 pts
2. Carleton [20-5-1] – 41 pts
3. UQTR [20-6-0] – 40 pts
4. Queen’s [17-5-5] – 39 pts
5. Ottawa [16-9-1] – 33 pts
6. Concordia [9-13-4] – 22 pts
7. UOIT [7-16-4] – 18 pts
8. Nipissing [7-16-3] – 17 pts
9. Laurentian [5-21-0] – 10 pts
10. RMC [3-20-3] – 9 pts

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