Downward slide

Despite high shot totals, Gaels’ losing skids hit five

It’s odd to see positivity from a team on a long losing streak, but that’s what you’ll find from men’s hockey.

Queen’s dropped games this past weekend 4-1 to the York Lions and 6-4 to the Brock Badgers, extending their losing streak to five — their longest since the 2010-11 season.

“The hockey gods are going to catch up to us soon,” head coach Brett Gibson said. “We’re outshooting opponents on a nightly basis. It’s a cliché, for sure, but you have to stay positive.”

The Gaels (8-10-1) have averaged 38 shots a night this season while surrendering 32. Over the five-game streak, they’ve outshot their opponents 201-161, yet have failed to pick up a single point.

They’re currently tied for sixth place in the OUA East with the UOIT Ridgebacks (8-10-1).

Against Brock (9-8-2), first-year forward Darcy Greenaway notched his first OUA hat trick, which pushed his total to 11 goals in his first 18 games with the Gaels. The total is the highest in the league among rookies.

“He’s still got more to give,” Gibson said. “He has the ability to dominate in this league.” Greenaway remained humble when asked about his performance.

“It’s always nice to chip in,” Greenaway said, “but you can’t focus on the individual accomplishments if you don’t get the two points and the win.” Forward Kelly Jackson added his third goal in four games against Brock, while forward Andrew Wiebe was the Gaels’ lone scorer against York.

Regardless of the positivity, there have been persisting issues that have contributed to the streak.

“We feel like we’ve shown signs of coming around the past few games,” Greenaway said. “But there’s no room for moral victories in this league.”

Queen’s has failed to convert on all 18 power play opportunities they’ve had in the last four games. Greenaway said the team has had an abundance of opportunities, but hasn’t been generating enough quality scoring chances.

“We’re definitely going to be working on that in practice all this week,” he said.

Goaltender Kevin Bailie — who earned OUA East MVP honours last season — posted a .893 save percentage over the past five games and has given up four goals or more three times during the skid.

Gibson noted he’s not worried about Bailie’s skill level, but understands he needs his goaltender to be playing at a higher level to compete in the playoffs.

With just seven games left in the 26-game season, the Gaels’ slide down the standings has been noticeable.

“It’s in the back of everyone’s mind,” Greenaway said. “The best way to eliminate that is to just go out and win.”

Coming up this weekend is a two-game home series against the Laurier Golden Hawks (5-13-1) and the Waterloo Warriors (12-6-1). Confidence on the bench will be a key factor in changing the Gaels’ fortunes, according to Greenaway.

“We need to go in expecting to win,” he said. “We know we can compete with any team in this league.”

OUA East Men’s Hockey Standings

1. Carleton (15-4-0) – 30 pts

2. UQTR (14-2-2) – 30 pts

3. McGill (14-5-0) – 28 pts

4. Nipissing (11-9-1) – 23 pts

5. Laurentian (10-6-3) – 23 pts

T-6. Queen’s (8-10-1) – 17 pts

T-6. UOIT (8-10-1) – 17 pts

8. Concordia (7-13-0) – 14 pts

9. RMC (0-16-2) – 2 pts

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