Women’s hockey beats Windsor, suffers shutout loss to Western in home stand

Head coach Holmberg remains hopeful, team “in control of [their] own destiny”

The Gaels' eight goals vs Windsor were their most in a single game this season.
The Gaels' eight goals vs Windsor were their most in a single game this season.

Despite splitting their home stand doubleheader, women’s hockey closed the weekend with much to be desired.

Friday saw the nationally-ranked eighth Gaels thrash the Windsor Lancers 8-1, marking the team’s highest goal scoring game this season. The wide margin of victory was a pleasant change of pace for Queen’s, who have consistently played in tight games over the past few weeks.

Sunday’s game against Western was a much different story, with the Gaels getting shut out by the Western Mustangs 3-0. The game had been circled on the Gaels’ schedule for weeks — and not just because of the storied rivalry between the two schools. Western came into Sunday’s game trailing Queen’s by just six points in the OUA standings.

With the win, that lead has now been cut to just three.

“We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” head coach Matt Holmberg said following Sunday’s loss. “I think we competed and believed up until the last second … it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Western got off to a strong start in the first period, tallying their first goal eight minutes into the frame. The Mustangs extended their lead just four minutes later, leaving the Gaels down by two at the end of the period.

Queen’s wasn’t limited in their chances, as Western provided the Gaels with six powerplay opportunities in the game. Three opportunities with the man advantage came in the first 13 minutes of the third period, but the Gaels were unable to create steady pressure on any of their chances. 

According to Holmberg, the team lacked the motivation to regain control of the game.

“We didn’t do ourselves any favours on the powerplay … We made some uncharacteristic errors that led to us losing possession,” Holmberg said. “That didn’t give us much of a chance.”

Alongside lacking on the powerplay, Holmberg said the game was largely decided by a few key moments that didn’t fall in their favour. Aside from the scoreline, the statistics showed little gaps between the two teams. Despite being shutout, Queen’s had outshot Western 25-24.

“We just couldn’t bury our chances,” Holmberg said. “[B]igger picture, it was a very even game between two teams that are near the top of the league.”

“That’s kind of what you’d expect.”

With a game against the nationally-ranked Guelph Gryphons this weekend, the Gaels are given a chance to redeem themselves against another top team. Guelph is currently riding a seven-game winning streak and a win for the Gryphons would propel them to a tie with the Gaels for the top spot in the OUA.

The two teams have already met once this season, with the Gaels taking the contest 4-1.

“The good news is we’re still in control of our playoff destiny, but success on Saturday will be pretty crucial,” Holmberg said.

Alongside their matchup against Guelph this weekend, the Gaels will travel to Toronto to play York on Sunday. Queen’s has six games left in the schedule before the OUA playoffs are set to begin.

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