Warriors fall in heartbreaker

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Stunned silence.&nbsp;</p>

The reaction of the crowd at the Columbia Ice Field Feb. 6 was mirrored by everyone but the Queen’s University Gaels, who had just scored the game-winning goal 4:18 into the second overtime period to cap off a 5-4 thriller of a game.

Waterloo’s men’s hockey team entered the tilt looking to continue a three-game winning streak in an effort to mirror an eight-game winning streak they had gone on earlier in the year, spanning from late November to late January. Queen’s was looking for their second win in a row after having a three-game winning streak broken by McGill Jan. 30.

The Gaels opened the scoring at 7:02 of the first period as Patrick McGillis slipped a rebound under Waterloo goaltender Mike Morrison’s pad in front of the net, giving them an early lead. Waterloo tied it up only three minutes later on a quick Chris Chappell shot from the slot off of the faceoff. Shots at the end of the first period were 17-12 in favour of the Warriors.

Despite their aggressive forecheck and shot lead, the Gaels struck first in the second period as a corralled rebound off of Morrison resulted in an easy tap-in for Queen’s. Not to be discouraged, Waterloo stormed back with a hard shot from the point by defenseman Stephen Silas followed by a goal from Brett Mackie off of a nice passing play by the Warriors. Scoring in the second period wasn’t finished as Queen’s capitalized on a bad giveaway in front of the net. The tie was not to last as forward Cam Nicoll used an excellent effort by Colin Behenna to beat the Gaels defender to a loose puck and slide the puck to Nicoll, who made no mistake on a nice shot from the top of the slot.

Heading into the third period with a 4-3 lead, the Warriors did not let up on the gas and battled the Gaels, matching them shot-for-shot and even outchancing them. Despite a close call from Morrison at 12:44, when a shot from a Queen’s attacker hit his glove, bounced up, and trickled wide of the open net, the Warriors didn’t give the visitors many chances to come back. Heading into the final minute, the game looked to have been all but won.

Then, disaster struck. With only 20 seconds to go in the third, Gaels forward Ryan Bloom entered the Waterloo zone with speed, picked up a nice pass from teammate Eric Ming, cut in front of the Waterloo defender, and backhanded the puck past Morrison to tie the game at four apiece to send it to overtime.

The first overtime period didn’t solve anything, but Waterloo had the lion’s share of the chances, even getting Queen’s to take two penalties in the frame — one for too many men at 2:49 and a second at 4:51 for interference. Waterloo was unable to convert on either powerplay, but confidence was high as they were controlling the play, forcing Queen’s to dump the puck out of their zone, and giving very little breathing room.

The Gaels completed their comeback with 42 seconds left in the second overtime period, which was played three-on-three. A nice deke by Slater Doggett to split the Waterloo defence pulled Morrison to the ice, where a pass to Ming resulted in an easy shot over the goalie and into the net. It was the Gaels’ only shot of either overtime period.

The men’s hockey team travels to St. Catherines and London for their next games Feb. 12 and 13  to face-off against Brock and Western, respectively, to close out the season. You can watch it live and commentated at OUA.tv.