Men's hockey road warriors, again

Gaels improve to league-best 9-1 away from home

Eric Ming (#12) scored twice in Saturday's win.
Eric Ming (#12) scored twice in Saturday's win.

There’s no place like the road for the men’s hockey team.

Despite holding just a 4-6 home record, the team upped their road record to 9-1 this past weekend after travelling to northwestern Ontario for a pair of games against the Laurentian Voyageurs and Nipissing Lakers.

Head coach Brett Gibson said the team’s mentality while away from home has been crucial in earning the league’s top record on the road.

“It’s kind of like a business trip,” he said, noting there are few distractions when the team’s stuck together for a few days.

Friday’s matchup against the Voyageurs saw a shot sneak past goaltender Kevin Bailie 1:46 into the first period.

“We fell behind on a fluke goal,” Gibson said. “[Bailie] stops that nine times out of 10.”

The Gaels traded second period goals to fall behind 2-1, before Spencer Abraham tied up the game again late in the second frame.

With under eight minutes to go, Darcy Greenaway’s scored his sixth of the season and sealed the two points for the Gaels in a 3-2 victory.

The next night was a similar narrative, as the Gaels fell down on a goal in the game’s sixth minute.

 However, the Gaels rebounded with three straight goals over the next two periods, with Patrick McGillis tying the game before fellow foward Eric Ming scored twice to put the game at a 3-1 score.

Gibson, who described the two games as must-wins, looks ahead to a Friday matchup with Carleton Ravens back at the Kingston Memorial Centre. 

“We’re a top team and you want that to be your measuring stick,” he said, as Carleton sits two spots above Queen’s in the standings.

The two teams have split the season series 1-1 so far, defeating Carleton in Ottawa earlier this year, but losing just over a week ago at home.

“We’ve got to bring [the mentality from the road] back home,” Gibson said.

The next night, the Gaels head to Montreal to take on McGill, before playing three games in four nights the following weekend. With so many games in a short period of time, the team’s looking to focus more on recovery periods and being properly conditioned, rather than having intense practices. 

Greenaway echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“Every guy likes playing games [instead of practicing],” he said of the busy schedule.

Greenaway and the Gaels are currently focused on making up for a poor start against Carleton on Jan. 19, where they fell 3-2.

“It’s nice to have that redemption matchup,” he said.

And while the team’s been successful on the road, their ambitions are still to be among the OUA’s East’s best come the postseason. If they manage to finish in the top four, they’re road games will be far more limited. 

“We’re looking to get home ice advantage in the playoffs,” Greenaway said.

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