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Gaels end first half with shootout win over Ottawa

December 1, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

When Brett Gibson put Yannick Laflamme in the lineup Saturday night, he was hoping the little-used forward might provide a spark.

Little did he suspect that spark might manifest itself as a game-winning goal.

When Laflamme beat Ottawa Gee-Gees goaltender Warren Shymko in the ninth round of a shootout he gave the Queen’s Golden Gaels a 4-3 win in their final Ontario University Athletics hockey game before the Christmas break.

The win was the fourth in a row for the No. 8-ranked Gaels, 10-0-5, and it maintains their two-point lead over McGill atop the East division standings.

Each team scored on their first attempt in the shootout, but then 15 straight shooters failed. With his team 1-5 in overtime and 0-3 in shootouts — including a 2-1 loss to Ottawa last month — Gibson played a hunch when he threw Laflamme, playing just his second game of the year, out to try his luck.

“When you go nine shooters (deep) I was just trying to be creative,” the Queen’s coach said. “I knew it would pick our bench up a bit if they saw me pick him. It did, and it worked, but there’s no magic to it.

“It’s just a feel-good thing that happily worked out for the kid.”

Laflamme, a second-year Gael from Thetford Mines, Que., via Grande Prairie of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, hadn’t scored in 16 intercollegiate games. He beat Shymko with a 25-foot wrist shot, medium high to the glove side.

That he was even in the game was a trifle unexpected.

“Last night I thought a couple of guys struggled and I just wanted to bring him into the lineup to add some spark, because I knew we’d be a bit tired,” Gibson said. “Good for him. That’s only the second game I’ve put him in the lineup all year and he hasn’t said boo to me or complained once. He’s just part of the team.

“He’s one of those kids the guys love. To get him in the lineup and make him feel part of the team (is important), just like starting (goaltender) Chris Clarke yesterday. I want them to feel part of this. It’s been a fun ride.”

After a scoreless first period Ottawa, with a nine-game winning streak at its back, took a 2-0 lead midway through the second. Chris Van Laren answered the Gee-Gees’ second goal after just 45 seconds and Harrison Hendrix tied the game for Queen’s four minutes later.

Tyler Moore’s second goal of the year, in the third minute of the third period, gave Queen’s the lead for the first time in the game but Ottawa, 10-6, answered when Paul Landry scored out of a scramble three minutes after that.

That’s the way the score remained through the remainder of regulation time and a five-minute overtime.

“We came out and scored an early goal (in the third period) and thought it was going to be easy,” Gibson said, “and they pushed back real hard. We just kind of sat back way too much … but Kevin made the saves he had to.”

Kevin Bailie made 41 saves as the Gaels were outshot 44-38.

Fatigue was a factor, Gibson said, on a team that lost two players to injury during the game.

“The lines got juggled. We ended up playing our (defencemen) way too much,” said Gibson. “They were uncharacteristic mistakes but they were tired mistakes. They weren’t anything but that.”

Scott Domenico scored three goals — the first multi-goal game of the season by a Royal Military College hockey player — but he didn’t get to savour it Saturday night.

That’s because he was in the penalty box when the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks scored the winning goal in overtime for a 7-6 victory in Waterloo.

The overtime loss left the Paladins with their second point of the season but they were just 64 seconds from their first victory, leading 6-5, when Zach Woolford scored for Laurier to tie the game. Matt Provost scored the goal that gave Laurier, 5-7-1, its first overtime win of the year after just two minutes of overtime.

Aidan Orbinski, Brett Pinder and Alex Pym scored the other goals form RMC, which was outshot 41-31. Greg Lamoureux scored twice for Laurier, while Chad Lowry collected three assists.

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