Gaels handed fourth straight loss

Men’s hockey championship hangover continues

Queen’s suffered a pair of disheartening losses to talented teams this weekend.
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Looking to shake off last week’s losses to Carleton and McGill, the Queen’s Gaels were at home this past weekend facing off against the No. 6 University of Toronto Varsity Blues and No. 9 Ryerson Rams.

Friday night’s action saw the Gaels hosting the Varsity Blues, who currently sit first in the OUA West with 18 points from nine wins and just two losses. Toronto’s Alex Bishop got the start in net, while Queen’s countered with Luke Richardson.

Bishop has been a top-ten goalie in the OUA this past season and he looked the part in Friday’s match-up. The Gaels were able to put an impressive 36 shots on net, but the Blues tender was able to stop every one.

The Gaels played the game close and defensively through the first period of action. Despite an abundance of opportunities, solid goaltending and strong defensive play from both teams conspired to keep the game scoreless through the first.

The Gaels started the second period strong, sending a flurry of shots Bishop’s way. The Varsity Blues netminder stayed cool under the offensive pressure from the Gaels and stonewalled the buzzing Gaels.

Midway through the second period, the Blues finally broke the ice. A strong solo effort from Toronto skater Oliver Benwell resulted in the first goal of the game and a slim Toronto lead.

Minutes after Benwell’s goal, Toronto struck again. Forward Kyle Potts was able to find the back of the net midway through the second period to give the Varsity Blues a 2 – 0 lead over the Gaels heading into the third period. Alex Row was also assessed a charging penalty as time expired so Queen’s went into the last stanza shorthanded.

At the beginning of the third the Gaels took a grievous cross checking penalty that put Toronto on an extended 5 on 3 power play. The Blues were able to make quick work of the advantage: less than a minute into the final period, Brendan Bornstein walked in and fired a shot past Richardson for Toronto’s third score of the game.

The Gaels pulled their goalie for the last minute and a half of play but the effort didn’t result in anything, and Toronto nicked a win on the road from the Queen’s Gaels.

For the second game of the back-to-back, the Gaels looked to bounce back against the Ryerson Rams. Unfortunately for the Gaels, this game proved no more fulfilling than the last as they were handed a bitter 6 – 1 loss.

The Gaels were once again faced with a hot goaltender. Ryerson netminder Garrett Forrest has been emerging as one of the OUA’s best goaltenders this season, boasting a .927 save percentage and the third-lowest goals against average in the OUA (1.85).

The first period of play was dominated by the Rams, as they were able to net three of their six goals. Just four minutes into the game, the Rams drew first blood. Following a tripping penalty against the Gaels, Ryerson’s McCool fired a rocket past Queen’s goalie Luke Richardson.

Shortly after the McCool goal, the Rams tallied once again. This time it was McCool’s linemate Holden Cook who found the back of the net for their second goal of the night.

Then, with under three minutes remaining in the first, the Rams notched another one, this time off the stick of Cavin Leth. This third goal ended Richardson’s night, and backup Alexander Horawski took over goaltending duties.

The goaltending switch didn’t provide any relief. Early in the second period, the Rams capitalized on another opportunity—it was Marcus Hinds on an assist from McCool for Ryerson's fourth of the game.

Less than two minutes following the Hinds goal, Holden Cook found a streaking Patrick Fellows who was able to bury it. The Rams sat on a 5 – 0 lead going into the third.

They added one more to go up 6 – 0 before the Gaels were finally able to answer. Six minutes into the third period, Liam Dunda would score the Gaels’ only goal of the entire weekend.

This weekend, the Gaels will be travelling to Quebec City for a pair of games against the Université du Quebec à Trois Rivières Patriotes. The Patriotes currently sit second in the OUA East with 17 points garnered from their strong 8 – 2 – 1 record.

These road games against UQTR provide another test for the struggling Gaels. Queen’s heads to "la belle province" in hopes of snapping their four-game skid.

 

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