Queen’s Golden Gaels rode a five-save goalkeeping performance from Kingston Collegiate grad Taylor Reynolds and two first-half goals to a 2-1 victory over the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks in the opening game of the Ontario University Athletics men’s soccer playoffs Wednesday afternoon at Miklas-McCarney Field.
The victory sends Queen’s to the East division semifinals for the fourth-straight season, this time for a match with the Toronto Blues Sunday afternoon in Toronto.
With high winds and heavy rain forecast, the Gaels went into the game with a plan to play conservatively.
“We did plan to be a little simpler with our play,” Gaels coach Christian Hoefler said, in a release. “UOIT is always well organized, they’ve got some pace up top, and their keeper made some solid saves. They battled us, and we’re struggling with injuries right now, (but) we were able to come through and I’m really proud of our guys.”
It took just a little more than nine minutes for Queen’s to score the game’s first goal, when a shot by Chris Wellsman from outside the penalty area deflected off a Tech player behind Ridgebacks goalkeeper Travis Martin. It Wellsman's second goal of the year.
Sam Abernathy made the score 2-0 just five minutes later, scoring his first goal of the year on a low shot that skipped off the wet turf and found a low corner of the net just inside the post.
Tech’s Erik Petrovic scored off a broken play in the game’s 26th minute to cut the deficit in half, but neither team was able to score to full time.
The win extended Queen’s unbeaten streak to seven games. The Gaels have lost just one of their last 14 games, and they’ve lost just once on the road all season.
On Sunday, the Gaels will be seeking a berth in the OUA championship tournament in Toronto, against a Blues team that beat them 3-0 in Kingston Sept. 5, but lost to Queen’s at home, 2-1, Sept. 19.