Shootout woes

Gaels lose for first time in 2014-15 season

Shootout losses to the Nipissing Lakers and Laurentian Lady Vees were women’s hockey’s first defeats of the season.
Shootout losses to the Nipissing Lakers and Laurentian Lady Vees were women’s hockey’s first defeats of the season.

After 130 minutes of action, women’s hockey came away with only two points from their northern road trip.

Playing the Nipissing Lakers (3-4-1) and Laurentian Lady Vees (1-5-2), the Gaels lost a pair of shootouts: 3-2 and 2-1, respectively. The score lines marked Queen’s (5-0-2) first losses of the 2014-15 campaign.

Despite the results, head coach Matt Holmberg saw some positives in the games.

“When you look back at it, five of the six periods we played — not counting the overtime and shootout — were pretty good,” Holmberg said. “And we only allowed three goals all weekend, so defensively, we still did pretty well.”

The lone weak period was the Gaels’ first of the weekend. The team came out flat last Saturday in the opening period against Nipissing, allowing the Lakers to notch a pair of goals.

“I’ll be blunt and say the first period was one of our worst periods of the year, which was both disappointing and surprising,” Holmberg said.

“I know we were on the road and we were facing a tough team in Nipissing — and certainly give them credit for coming out hungry — but based on everything we’d done prior to the game I thought the team would come out firing. And they didn’t.”

Holmberg said the Gaels talked during the first intermission to try and correct the mistakes that were made early in the game.

Second-year forwards Clare McKellar and Megan Farrell scored 48 seconds apart in the period to knot things up at 2-2.

After neither team could find the back of the net in overtime, Nipissing succeeded in the shootout.

“I’m disappointed that we had a bad period, I’m disappointed that we didn’t get two points,” Holmberg said. “But I am proud of how the team reacted after that first period and worked hard to earn one point at least.”

Queen’s came out firing on Sunday against the Lady Vees, peppering Laurentian goaltender Emily Toffoli with 19 shots in the first period alone. Despite all the chances, the Gaels couldn’t beat Toffoli, as the game remained scoreless.

Holmberg said the Gaels were determined to avoid the slow start that plagued them against the Lakers the day before.

“I think there was still a little bit of disappointment as to how we had started against Nipissing,” he said. “We were bound and determined not to let that happen again.”

The Gaels broke through in the second period, as defenceman Alisha Sealey put the team in front with her second tally of the season. Forwards Chelsey Verbeek and Nadia Larocca added assists on the goal.

Laurentian’s Julie Hebert tied the game just under five minutes into the third frame. Once again, the game went into a shootout and the Gaels had to settle for only a single point.

“We definitely earned a point, but give Laurentian some credit [for] taking it from us in the end,” Holmberg said.

Rookie goalie Stephanie Pascal stood tall in net for Queen’s, making 30 saves.

Queen’s next games come on the road, on Saturday against the Guelph Gryphons (3-1-1) and Sunday against the Brock Badgers (0-3-2).

The Gaels ended the Gryphons’ playoff run in 2013-14. Holmberg said the game between the two rivals will likely be close.

“Regardless of the result [against Guelph], coming off what will probably be a close-fought and emotional game on Saturday, we have to make sure we’re getting ourselves back up to compete against Brock on Sunday,” he said.

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