Men's hockey exits early from playoffs

Gaels fall in third game of first round

Joseph Luongo finished his four years at Queen’s with the playoff loss.
Joseph Luongo finished his four years at Queen’s with the playoff loss.
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Men’s hockey saw an end to their promising season this past weekend, after they suffered a critical 4-3 loss to the UOIT Ridgebacks.

Their fall in game three of the first round of the playoffs makes the Gaels the first winter varsity team to end their season. 

For head coach Brett Gibson, there wasn’t an issue of his team producing, but rather that some key players were absent due to injuries, including Spencer Abraham, Andrew Wiebe, Patrick Downe and Slater Doggett.

“Unfortunately, injuries became a major reason we are out in the first round,” Gibson said. “We were down to nine forwards and four defence. You can’t play with the intensity and effort that is needed to win with that little bodies.”

Queen’s went into the third and final game of their playoff series tied 1-1 with UOIT, after both games prior advanced to overtime. 

After a quick start by the Ridgebacks, Jesse Stoughton found an opening past Gael Kevin Bailie to put UOIT up by one. Eric Ming, unwilling to let his team fall behind, scored on the power play to knot things up. Following the first intermission, Queen’s was unable to take advantage of the power play, allowing UOIT to score a short-handed goal, setting the score at 2-1. 

Darcy Greenaway delivered for Queen’s and tied things up. Ming, coming off his first goal of the post season, jumped back into the play, firing the puck into the back of the net once again to put the Gaels up by one. 

The Ridgebacks took advantage of the hometown ice, answering with a pair of goals in the third to advance to the OUA Eastern Conference semi-finals. The Gaels finished with an impressive record of 17-7-4 in the regular season, but were oddly stronger on the road this year than at home, with an away record of 10-4. 

“Our mentality on the road is different than at home, and it will be addressed at the start of next year with our new leadership group,” Gibson said. 

The Gaels have taken large strides this year, especially with program development, and although the regular season may be over, Gibson is looking forward to the off-season, especially when it comes to recruiting new talent. 

“It’s all about who is going to put the effort in this off-season to secure their roster spot, because there is always a hungry incoming class looking to make a mark,” he said.

Sunday’s game was a last for five graduating players — Joseph Luongo, Taylor Clements, Andrew Wiebe, Yannick LaFlamme and Patrick McGillis. With five positions to fill, the Gaels may have a different look come the 2016-17 season.

“I am really going to miss the five graduating players,” Gibson said. “This is the hardest part about coaching at this level. I always say they come in as boys, and leave as men. These five have become great men.”

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