Gaels handed first loss on Homecoming weekend

Men’s hockey splits weekend series with loss to Guelph, win over Brock

Goaltender Jack Flinn faced 54 shots in the Gaels’ 7-1 loss to Brock this weekend.
Goaltender Jack Flinn faced 54 shots in the Gaels’ 7-1 loss to Brock this weekend.

The men’s hockey team endured its first loss of the season and captured one win in back-to-back games this weekend. After losing 7-1 to the Guelph Gryphons on Friday, the Gaels rebounded on Saturday night and secured a 3-1 victory over the Brock Badgers.

Going into Friday’s game, Gaels’ assistant coach Kevin Bailie knew Guelph—tied for fourth in the OUA East after losing their first three games—was looking for its first win of the season. 

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Bailie told The Journal. “Given their lack of success and our ranking, we knew they’d be extremely prepared and hungry to win.”

Midway through the first period, the Gryphons scored a power play goal coming off a rebound from Queen’s goaltender Jack Flinn. A minute before the opening frame’s close, Gaels defenceman Graeme Brown returned the favour, leaving the game tied heading into the second.

Within the first five minutes of the second period, Guelph placed two more behind Flinn to give the Gryphons a 3-1 lead. They’d soon turn it into 5-1 after receiving a five-minute power play from a hit to the head by Gaels defenceman Alex Row.

Bailie said the Gaels bench’s morale sunk as the team struggled to muster momentum in the second period.

“[I]t obviously wasn’t a pleasant atmosphere on our bench,” Bailie said. “Whether the game is going great or poorly, we take pride in attempting to [stay calm] and [stick] to our game plan.”

Guelph strengthened their lead with two more goals in the closing game, handing the Gaels their first regular season loss by a score of 7-1.

“The biggest lesson we took away is that we aren’t invincible,” Bailie said, reflecting on the game’s lopsided result. “We got punched in the face. That happens. It’s how you respond to it where you find out what kind of hockey team you have.”

Queen’s responded the following evening against the nationally-ranked tenth Brock Badgers, coming away with a 3-1 win.

Friday night’s wake-up call made the team take a step back—“taking a cumulative deep breath, reviewing what went wrong, and making adjustments,” Bailie said.

The Gaels’ defence held their own against the Badgers, allowing just one goal late in the first period. Brock managed to sneak one past Queen’s goaltender Justin Fazio, who’d go on to make a season-high 44 saves in the game.

Similar to Friday, another five-minute major penalty hit the game in the second period—but this time to the Gaels’ advantage after a Brock player got called for kneeing. Queen’s defenceman Nevin Guy evened the score on the power play, and assisted on forward Mason Kohn’s goal under a minute later. Both goals came on the same power play.

An end to the long power play didn’t mean an end to the scoring for the Gaels. Queen’s forward Luke Bertolucci would score his first of the season two minutes after Kohn’s tally. The Gaels secured a comfortable 3-1 lead only six minutes into the second frame—finishing with their fourth win of the season.

“Now we’re on to focusing on our next game,” Bailie said. “You need to forget the wins just as quickly as you forget the losses.”

The Gaels (4-1-0) are on the road this upcoming weekend to continue OUA action against the Waterloo Warriors (1-5-0) on Friday and the Laurier Golden Hawks (0-5-0) on Saturday.

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