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Gaels score twice in third period to edge Laurentian 3-2

November 30, 2013


Brett Gibson faced the question a number of times this week: How will being nationally ranked for the first time in 30 years affect his hockey team?

“I don’t think it did,” Gibson said, after his team came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the visiting Laurentian Voyageurs at the Memorial Centre Friday night, “but when you’ve got a guy like (Alain) Valiquette stopping 54 pucks …”

Certainly, if there was one person in the building who didn’t appear impressed that the Gaels were ranked No. 8 in the country this week, it would have been Valiquette, who held Queen’s at bay throughout most of a third period where his team was dominated about as much as a team could be.

As they began the third period trailing by a goal, the Gaels embarked on a remarkable display. Quite literally the Voyageurs had possession of the puck in the Queen’s end for about 30 seconds of the first 13 minutes of the period. There was one faceoff in the Gaels’ end of the rink in the entire period and Laurentian didn’t have its first shot on goal until 15 minutes had been played.

Queen’s was in the process of outshooting Laurentian 25-5 but it still wasn’t until Jordan Soquila scored with 48.5 seconds left in regulation time that Queen’s took the lead, as the Gaels, 9-0-5, remained the only team in Ontario University Athletics without a regulation-time defeat this year

That distinction appeared in doubt when Laurentian, 4-10, took a 2-0 lead in the third minute of the second period. The Gaels were skating well and getting lots of shots on Valiquette, but they weren’t taking advantage of the many rebounds he was allowing.

It wasn’t until they went on a power play midway through the period that the Gaels started getting those second shooting opportunities and Kelly Jackson finally scored for Queen’s during that Laurentian penalty.

Corey Bureau tied the game with eight and a half minutes left to play, with a low shot to the stick side of Valiquette from in close. After Laurentian’s Jordan Carroll hit the post behind Queen’s goalie Chris Clarke with a hard shot off right wing with two minutes left in the period, overtime loomed.

That would not have been the first choice of the Gaels, who have lost five of six games in extra time this year, but in the final minute Soquila made that stat moot. He pounced on the puck when it squirted loose from the side of the net — where Valiquette was on his knees, trying to freeze it — and snapped a quick shot into the open side of the goal from 10 feet out.

Often teams in the process of badly outshooting an opponent — it was 54-24 by the time the game was done — become flustered and begin to freelance amid the frustration of getting little reward for the effort but Gibson said he didn’t see any of that among his players.

“Because we were controlling (the play),” he said. I betcha we were in their end 18 minutes of that (third) period. I just kept on saying, ‘Bang the door and eventually you’ll get one.’”

Gibson’s fear was that Valiquette was in the process of repeating his performance of last Saturday against Toronto, when, despite being outshot, Laurentian prevailed over the Varsity Blues in a shootout.

“It’s one of those games where a goalie can steal it,” Gibson said. “I’ve been there, on that side, where we had not as great teams but our goalie stole games for us. Laurentian, I don’t think they’re very skilled but their goaltender is fantastic.”

To be successful, Gibson said, it was vital that his team be more active in the area in front of the Laurentian goal.

“He’s going to make the first save,” Gibson said. “We weren’t going to score a pretty goal. We were going to have to find a way to score an ugly one. We needed to get to the net and we did that. The two goals we were scored (in the third period) were two ugly goals.”

The Gaels resume play Saturday night at the Memorial Centre when they will host the Ottawa Gee-Gees, who improved to 10-5 Friday night with an 8-2 home-ic win over Ontario Tech.

In Waterloo Friday night, the Warriors scored in the last minute of the first period and twice in the first three minutes of the second on their way to a 6-2 win over the Royal Military College Paladins.

Former Belleville Bull Brett Mackie scored twice and Joe Underwood had three assists for Waterloo, which outshot the visitors 51-18 as they improved their record this year to 6-7-1.

In dropping their 15th game in a row, winless RMC got goals from Colin Cook and Mitchell Hewson, a rookie defenceman from Vernon, B.C., who scored his first intercollegiate goal.

The Paladins will stay in Waterloo to play the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Saturday night.

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