Men’s Hockey loses to McGill Redbirds in round one of OUA playoffs

Queen’s loses 3-2 in overtime

The Gaels suffered a season-ending upset to McGill on Wednesday.

The Queen’s men’s hockey team lost 3-2 in overtime to the McGill University Redbirds on Wednesday night at the Memorial Centre.

With the loss, the Gaels end their season with a 17-3 record.

“Just devastating really, worst case scenario for this group. You play all season to earn home ice, and I think we froze at points and it cost us,” head coach Brett Gibson told The Journal in an interview after the game.

The game started strong for Queen’s, with McGill taking two penalties ten minutes into the first period, allowing a dominant Gaels’ powerplay to go to work early and generate several quality chances.

“I thought our first power play was fantastic, we had a tap-in that we missed,” Gibson said about the Gaels’ special team’s effort.

“Our second power play wasn’t as good, and then our third was only a ten second power play. It’s the playoffs, special teams aren’t going to win or lose you the playoffs, it’s going to be five-on-five.”

Midway through the period, Queen’s finally capitalized on its offensive momentum, with forward Jack Duff scoring from distance with assists from Liam Dunda and Duncan Campbell.

Queen’s had another quality chance to double up the score when forward Jonathan Yantsis was stopped in tight on a breakaway before Queen’s was awarded a penalty shot that forward Holden Katzalay was unable to convert.

The first period ended with a strong defensive effort by Queen’s, with forward Patrick Sanvido sliding across the ice to block a shot and goaltender Luke Richardson staying sharp on several shots in tight.

The second period started well for the Gaels, with Katzalay stripping the puck from a McGill defenseman and ripping a shot from the low slot that nearly found twine.

Shortly afterwards, Queen’s found the back of the net again when Yantsis poked the puck past the McGill goaltender while diving along the ice in an incredible solo effort. Queen’s then held on to keep the two-goal lead to start the third.

Starting on the powerplay, the Redbirds kept up the intensity, forcing Queen’s to defend for long stretches. McGill finally broke through nearing the mid-point of the period—Richardson couldn’t recover after stonewalling a breakaway attempt.

After a strong back and forth, McGill tied the game with just over two minutes left, scoring with their goaltender pulled to push the contest into overtime.

The Gaels threatened early in the overtime period, recording several quality chances, and defended well before the McGill net became dislodged, halting their momentum. With six minutes left in the period, McGill once more found the back of the net with traffic in front, ending a promising Queen’s season.

“We had times to put them away […] If you keep teams around long enough, bad things are going to happen, and that’s unfortunately what happened,” Gibson said, reflecting on the game.

“The take-away is for my young guys […] Every shift matters in OUA hockey, […] they have to learn they can’t take shifts off, and we took shifts off and it cost us.”

 

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