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Hockey Gaels post second-straight shutout

January 22, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Success hasn’t made Brett Gibson soft — quite the opposite, actually.

“It’s funny,” the Queen’s Golden Gaels hockey coach said after his team’s 3-0 victory Tuesday night over the Royal Military College Paladins. “As a coach, I must be getting older. When you’ve gone six periods without giving up a goal you should be happy, but I’m not.

“I’m looking big picture. I think we’re ready to take that next step and in order to take that next step, you have to get better every day. We didn’t get better today.”

The Gaels present their coach with an interesting quandary. They’re the No. 10-ranked team in Canada; at 14-3-5 they moved back into a tie for first place in the East division of Ontario University Athletics, and the only teams in Canada who have allowed fewer goals have both played two fewer games.

Those are all significant achievements for any hockey team but Gibson wants more, because he sincerely believes his team is capable of it.

Therefore, a 3-0 victory gets characterized as “a terrible game.”

“They know tonight was not a good effort and they know I’m not happy,” Gibson said of his players, vowing a better performance will be forthcoming Friday when the Gaels travel to Ottawa to face No. 7-ranked Carleton. “They’ll be ready.”

Playing in a frigid Constantine Arena, Queen’s scored once in each period and in some respects was fortunate to have done so. Yannick Laflamme squeezed a 30-foot shot under the left arm of RMC goaltender Evan Deviller late in the first period and in a ridiculous second period — where the Gaels took 26 shots at the Paladins’ goal — the only goal came off a broken play after RMC failed at least twice with an opportunity to clear the puck out of its zone.

Braeden Corbeth and Jordan Coccimiglio scored the other Queen’s goals. Kevin Bailie got the shutout, his second of the year, making 15 saves as the Gaels outshot the home team 50-15.

The Gaels have now not allowed a goal in the last 134 minutes and 15 seconds of play.

Shorthanded and with some of those who did play ill — throwing up during the game thanks to the flu — RMC did a good job at times playing the body.

“They’re a good team. They’re near the top of the league for a reason,” Paladins coach Adam Shell said. “For us (to be successful) we’ve got to play really well so a tight game is good.

“The second period the ice was tilted, for sure. You’ve got to be able to win a faceoff in your own zone to have the puck and that hurt us in the second period.”

Still, Shell said, his team — winner just once in 22 games this year — is improving.

“We’re significantly better than we were,” he said. “We didn’t get trapped in our zone as much. (Except for the second period) the puck was moving out of the zone, our (defencemen) were moving the puck better, we were attacking better.

“We’re not as fast as (Queen’s) and that hurts us. We need to be physical. You need to finish your checks to slow them down. When we had energy we were good but when some of your top guys are puking, it’s not easy.”

The Paladins resume play Saturday night, when they will host the U.S. Military Academy Black Knights in the annual challenge game at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.

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