The longest win streak in UOIT men’s hockey history has come to an end.
For UOIT, eight games was the longest since five games to start the 2016-17 campaign, but on Friday night at the Kingston Memorial Centre the Queen’s Gaels won the battle for fifth place in the OUA eastern conference 3-2.
“I thought they were better in the first period – we showed a lot of rust,” said head coach Curtis Hodgins.
“They’ve been off too, but they were better in the first period and then as the game went along we certainly got better.”
A quick goal by Queen’s Spencer Abraham just 4:39 into the tilt made it look like it could be a long night for the Ridgebacks, but UOIT settled in and were starting to take it to the Gaels and drew an interference call with three minutes to go in the first.
Unfortunately, the opportunity had the opposite effect as Slater Doggett scored shorthanded to give his team a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
UOIT’s feet were under them though and they started the second period by drawing two penalties, giving themselves a four-minute power play, which turned to a five-on-three just 21 seconds into the man advantage. This time the Ridgebacks capitalized as Jesse Baird picked up the puck at the top of the slot and beat Kevin Bailie glove side to cut the lead to one.
Brennan Roy and Kingston’s Ben Blasko earned the helpers on the goal.
Doggett scored his second of the night and the eventual game-winning goal with 1:02 remaining in the period to put the Gaels up 3-1 with a period to go.
“That late goal in the second was a killer and made it a long road back,” said Hodgins. “That turned out to be the difference.”
Loren Ulett picked up a loose puck at the side of the crease with 10:49 to go in the third and put it up and over an outstretched Bailie.
That was as close as the Ridgebacks would get to open back-to-back games in Kingston against the Gaels as Tyson Teichmann made 31 saves in the loss. Bailie turned aside 22 UOIT shots for the victory.
“We have 12 games to go, we need to be good and we need to be better on the road,” said Hodgins. “That’s the challenge to our team.
We’re great at home, but we’re not winning enough on the road.”
The Ridgebacks are back in action on this Friday, Jan. 12 in Kingston against the RMC Paladins.