It took a mix of likely and unlikely heroes to snap men’s hockey’s six-game losing skid.
Few people would be surprised that Darcy Greenaway scored the overtime winner in the Gaels’ 3-2 victory over the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday. The rookie forward crashed the net and potted his team-leading 12th goal of the campaign.
“Corey Bureau made a heck of a pass to get it to me,” Greenaway said. “I think it just bounced off me and in.” Greenaway’s tally kept Queen’s (9-11-1) entrenched in sixth place in the OUA East – two points up on the seventh-place UOIT Ridgebacks (8-12-1).
Bureau, the team’s captain, added a goal of his own in the second period against Waterloo to put the Gaels up 2-1.
While the late-game heroics came from a top scorer, the game’s offence was sparked by Yannick Laflamme. He put the Gaels up early, scoring just over three minutes in.
The third-year forward has seen action in just six of the team’s 21 games this year, with his two prior goals coming in a 14-4 rout of the RMC Paladins on Nov. 8.
“You gotta do what you gotta do to stay in the lineup,” Laflamme said. “I knew had to give my 100 per cent tonight. It’s nice to contribute.”
He added that in a back and forth game, it was important for the Gaels to take advantage of the scoring chances they had.
“We just kept grinding and grinding,” Laflamme said. “We know we’re a very skilled team, and it paid off obviously.”
Queen’s goalie Kevin Bailie had seen the roughest stretch of his career correlate with the team’s losing slide, but rebounded with a 34-save performance in the victory.
“We don’t get to overtime unless Kevin makes those saves,” said Gaels head coach Brett Gibson
Gibson was also impressed with the performance of rookie forwards Ryan Bloom and Braden Mercier. Bloom didn’t contribute on the score sheet but Gibson felt it was his best game with the Gaels, while Mercier earned his first assist as a Gael on Bureau’s goal.
While the win snapped a losing streak for Queen’s, it also stopped a Waterloo (13-6-2) team that had won nine games in a row
On Friday night — one day before topping Waterloo — Queen’s fell 3-2 at home against a Laurier Golden Hawks (7-13-1) team that sits last in the OUA West.
“Last night was rock bottom for our team,” Gibson said after the Waterloo game. “[Tonight’s win was] a better feeling than I’ve had in two months. We needed that win.”
After the loss to Laurier, assistant coach Andrew Haussler said it was time to stop making excuses for the team’s poor results. Taylor Clements and Patrick McGillis scored for the Gaels, while Bailie made 37 out of 40 saves in defeat.
The Gaels travel this weekend to Montreal to face off against the McGill Redmen. Queen’s dropped their season opener 4-3 to their long-time rivals on Oct. 10, conceding the deciding goal in the final minute of the third period.
With just a single contest up this weekend for the Gaels, Gibson likened the matchup to a football game.
“We’re going to make sure we know everything about them,” he said. “They’re tough to beat, but we’re going to be prepared.”
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