Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s Carr-Harris Cup

Queen’s faces off with RMC tonight for the 134th consecutive year

Image by: Amanda Norris
Slater Doggett scores in 2018's 6-5 OT win over RMC.

Kingston’s OUA men’s hockey teams will clash tonight in the annual battle for the Carr-Harris Cup. 

Tonight’s event pits the Queen’s Gaels against their rivals across the causeway, the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins, in a game that’s fast-paced, hard-hitting, and competitive every year.

The action-packed Carr-Harris Cup also holds some unique and interesting history.

The rivalry game between the two Kingston hockey programs has taken place at the Leon’s Centre, formerly the K-Rock Centre, since 2012. However, the rivalry game itself has been played for more than a century.

Thursday’s matchup will be the 134th meeting between the two teams, and it’s recognized as the sport’s longest-standing rivalry.

In 1986, the Carr-Harris Cup was inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame in recognition and celebration of the rivalry. The Cup can be traced back to March 10, 1886, when the Gaels and Paladins played their first game against one another.

The inaugural matchup resulted in a 1-0 Gaels victory. Lennox “Lennie” Irving scored the first and only goal of the game to start the rivalry off on the right foot for Queen’s. 

Lennie is the figure depicted atop the Carr-Harris trophy, which was created by Kingston sculptor Joan Belch.

The trophy received its designation from the Carr-Harris family, which has historical ties to both Kingston schools. Dating back to the 1870s, Robert Carr-Harris served as a professor of civil engineering at RMC and professor of engineering at Queen’s University.

The game’s annual most valuable player is awarded the Mary Carr-Harris trophy in memory of the late Mary Carr-Harris, Robert’s granddaughter, who presented the winning team with the ‘Lennie’ trophy until 2006.

Statistical data from the Carr-Harris Cup is only available from 1986 onwards. Since then, the Gaels have a record of 20-11-2, scoring an average of 4.2 goals per game while surrendering an average of 2.8 goals.

11 of the games since 1986 have been decided by one goal. The game has reached overtime a total of five times, two of which extended even further into shootouts.

In Carr-Harris games decided by a shootout, the Paladins are 2-0. 

In the time since the game has moved to the neutral location of the Leon’s Centre, the Gaels hold a record of 5-3. In 2019’s iteration of the Cup, the Gaels were shellacked 5-1.

In 2019-20 OUA Hockey regular season action, the Gaels have already faced off against the Paladins twice.

The first matchup between the two teams saw the Gaels escape with a 4-3 victory in which they dominated offensively, taking 38 total shots to RMC’s 22. The Gaels scored three of their four goals on the power play.

The second meeting between the Limestone City counterparts saw Queen’s win convincingly, 4-1, at RMC’s Constantine Arena. Once again, the Gaels attack was potent, and goaltender Luke Richardson stone-walled 29 shot attempts from RMC.

In both games, the Gaels have outperformed themselves offensively. They’ve been especially good at creating scoring opportunities in the second period, averaging 15.5 shots.

Alex Row has been one of the largest contributors for the Gaels when facing the Paladins this year. In his two games against the Paladins, Row has three points off of two goals and an assist.

Matthew Hotchkiss has also had a hot hand against RMC—he’s scored in each of his matchups against the Paladins this season.

Rivalry games like these are usually up-tempo and fueled by emotions—the history is palpable, and the crowd feeds into the atmosphere of the game.

In a charged game such as this one, discipline is king. Fortunately for Queen’s, they’re the least penalized team in the OUA, whereas the Paladins are the sixth-most penalized team.

If Queen’s can jump out to a quick start and force the Paladins to play from behind, they may be able to lure RMC into taking costly penalties.

Tonight’s Carr-Harris Cup is sure to be an action-packed, high-powered, chippy, gritty hockey game. But it’s larger than the game itself—it’s an opportunity for the city to come together to cheer on their respective alma mater or favourite team and celebrate the tradition of university hockey in Kingston.

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