Justin Fazio Shuts the door on the Gee-Gees

Fazio stands in the crease during the playing of the Canadian anthem  – Photo by Robin Kasem

Tonight, the Queen’s Gaels men’s hockey team did something that only two teams were able to pull off in the regular season against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.

The Gaels handed the Gee-Gees a loss in regulation.  It was something that only the Carleton Ravens and the McGill Redmen were able to do before.

Prior to tonight’s matchup, the two teams faced off on Nov. 3rd, and Dec. 1st. Those games ended with the Gee-Gees winning by scores of 4-2 and 4-1, respectively.

In round 1 of the Queen’s Cup Playoffs, the Gee-Gees faced off against the University of Laurentian Voyageurs, while the Gaels faced off against the Concordia University Stingers. Both the Gee-Gees and the Gaels ended up sweeping their first-round matchups.

“You learn a lot from that type of series. They’re a really good hockey team, and it took a lot to beat them, and we really got the experience in how to finish games, and compete right to the end, and it goes a long way for us,” Gaels starting goalie Justin Fazio said about sweeping Concordia.

Fazio makes a pad save to stop the puck from going into the net – Photo by Robin Kasem

Tonight, Fazio, saved 34 shots on goal, out of the 36 he faced, as he backstopped his team to a 3-2 victory in game 1 of the second round of the Queen’s Cup Playoffs.

“We never quit battling, we gave our all, and that last minute is just a testament to that. We worked hard, we never quit competing, and we got the job done,” Fazio said about the game.

Five minutes into the first period, Queen’s opened the scoring, as Gaels forward Henry Thompson fired the puck past Gee-Gees netminder Anthony Brodeur.

That would be the only goal, as Queen’s left the ice with a 1-0 lead, despite trailing Ottawa in shots on goal.

From the get go, you could tell that Queen’s was in it to win it, as Gaels players were throwing Gee-Gees players up against the boards. The Gee-Gees take pride in their asset of speed up and down the ice, while the Gaels play a very physical game. Tonight, the Gaels’ physicality far outweighed the Gee-Gees speed.

“You know what, that’s just our game. We play a really gritty style of hockey, we forecheck hard, bang bodies everywhere all over the ice, and it definitely helps us out,” Fazio said.

Fazio makes a save against a McGill Redmen player – Photo by Robin Kasem

Two minutes into the second frame, the Gee-Gees would make it a tie game, when Cody Van Lierop sent the puck flying past Fazio and into the net.

Three minutes later, Ottawa would take their first lead of the game, as Gee-Gees forward Marc Beckstead put the puck past Fazio.

A minute later, while on the powerplay, Queen’s would make it a tie game once again, as forward Mason Kohn sent the puck past Brodeur and into the net.

With both teams tied to end the period, Ottawa would leave the ice with 15 shots on goal compared to the Gaels seven.

Queen’s would eventually put the game to rest three minutes into the final frame, as Kohn potted his second goal of the game to give his team the 3-2 victory, and game 1.

“He was terrific tonight. He was there for us when we needed him, he’s a great goaltender, and we just got to keep playing like that in front of him. I mean, he’s going to do his job back there, and we got to do our job up front, and we’ll be good,” Gaels forward Jaden Lindo said about Fazio’s performance.

The Gee-Gees now head down to Kingston, Ontario for game 2 on Feb. 22nd, as Queen’s will be looking to close out the series with a win at their home arena.

“We don’t really worry about that too much. It feels good having it, but we’re going to be taking it like the next game is like any other game, and not worrying too much about the series’ score,” Fazio said.

Fazio keeps his eyes on the puck while facing off against the McGill Redmen – Photo by Robin Kasem

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