Men’s hockey has difficult weekend at home

Gaels suffer two overtime losses to McGill and Concordia in teaching moment

Going up against a couple of the OUA’s strongest teams, the nationally ranked McGill Redmen and Concordia Stingers, the Gaels knew they were going to have their hands full. Though a tough task, two wins against these teams would’ve given Queen’s the top spot in the OUA East.

On Friday, an exciting final-minutes comeback fell short as the Gaels were defeated by McGill 3-2. Saturday night had a similar outcome, as an early goal in overtime by Concordia sunk Queen’s for the second consecutive night.

“Obviously they’re two very good teams and for me, we played pretty good hockey for the first 60 minutes,” head coach Brett Gibson said. “We need to learn how to play in overtime and get better at it because we can’t afford to be giving away points.”

To mirror the NHL’s rulebook, the OUA has followed suit with the league’s change to make overtime three-on-three instead of four-on-four. The Gaels have seemed shaky in adapting to this new brand of hockey through their first six games of the season, with all three of their losses coming in overtime.

The weekend’s games had some history attached to them; it was the Gaels first playing against both teams since the OUA playoffs last season. After narrowly getting by the Stingers in the first round, Queen’s faced McGill in the OUA semifinals. The Gaels came out of that series on top as well, cleanly winning the series in two games and advaning to their first OUA final since 1981.

“Especially when you play McGill, there’s a rivalry so you want to beat McGill every time you play them,” Gibson said.

After this weekend, the Gaels currently sit in a four-way tie for second in the OUA East with Carleton, Concordia and Ottawa. Sitting in the early days of a long season, Gibson sees little reason to stress over positioning in the standings.

“There’s no pressure, it’s still October and it’s one of those things that you learn from these experiences.” Gibson said.

Queen’s will return to practice this week with a few lessons learned from the weekend. Gibson hopes to impart some confidence in his team as they make their way into November.

“To keep going is just the message. It doesn’t get any easier, obviously, with UQTR this week. It’s just a message of moving forward,” Gibson said.

The upcoming weekend holds another test for Queen’s that could dramatically shift their positioning in the OUA East. In a two game series, the Gaels will now venture out to Trois Rivieres in Quebec to take on a very strong UQTR Patriotes team.

The Patriotes currently sits atop the OUA East alongside McGill with 12 points.

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