The UOIT Ridgebacks men’s hockey team’s lack of discipline cost them the first game of the OUA playoffs against the University of Queen’s Golden Gaels.
The Ridgebacks rallied with a pair of late goals in the third period to force overtime, before losing 4-3 Wednesday at the Campus Ice Centre. Queen’s went two-for-five on the power play, while UOIT failed to score in three chances – and gave up a shorthanded marker.
UOIT’s Jesse Stoughton scoring the game-tying goal with 37 seconds left in the third period. But Henry Thompson scored at 17:14 of the first overtime to give Queen’s a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, with Game 2 set for Friday in Kingston.
The Ridgebacks started the first period dictating the pace of the game with a number of scoring chances and dominating the physical play. But when it seemed like they were in control of the game, a slew of penalties held the Ridgebacks down.
The Ridgebacks took a penalty for too many men on the ice and just 12 seconds into the power play forward Patrick McGillis opened the scoring for Queen’s.
The Ridgebacks started the second period where they left off in the first. Cameron Yuill and Jesse Stoughton both took tripping penalties just over one minute apart setting up the Golden Gaels’ second power play goal of the game, putting the Ridgebacks down 2-0.
“We took a costly penalty right at the start and they capitalized on it, we can’t allow that to happen going forward,” said UOIT head coach Curtis Hodgins.
However, centreman Cameron Yuill pushed back with a late goal reducing the deficit to 2-1.
The Ridgebacks began the third period just the same as they did in the first, with a penalty to kill just five minutes into the frame. Just minutes later the Ridgebacks found themselves on the flip side, they had drawn a penalty for hooking but could not find a way to penetrate the Golden Gaels’ blue line to generate any offense and with just 25 seconds left in their penalty Queen’s forward Ryan Bloom scored a shorthanded goal to put the Gaels up by a 3-1 lead.
Ridgebacks’ right-winger Nate Mitton says they were getting pucks to the net but they were trying to be too perfect.
“We might have been giving their goalie too much credit having a lot of one-shot opportunities,” said Mitton.
The Ridgebacks struggled to find an answer to Golden Gaels’ goalie and former Oshawa General Kevin Baillie. That was until left-winger Conner Jarvis scored with five minutes left to make it a 3-2 game.
“I think in the first period we were a little too cute, we know Kevin Baillie is a good goalie but he can be beat,” said Hodgins.
The momentum began to swing for the Ridgebacks after they pulled goaltender Brendan O’Neill. Queen’s missed an opportunity at the open net, which led to Stoughton scoring the game-tying goal with 37 seconds left in the third period giving the Ridgebacks life by sending the game to overtime.
The Ridgebacks controlled the pace of overtime putting six shots on net to Queens’ four. The Ridgebacks had multiple scoring chances but Baillie had an answer for everything fired his way.
That set the stage for Thompson’s winner with three minutes left in the first overtime.
The Ridgebacks will look to bounce back when the series goes to Kingston on Friday, puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.