The Journal Athletes of the Week

Michelle Fortner

Women’s Field Hockey

Michelle Fortner led women’s field hockey to another strong showing with four goals in three games last weekend. She scored two goals against the Western Mustangs and one against the Carleton Ravens in a pair of wins on Saturday, and then the lone goal in a 2-1 loss to York on Sunday.

Fortner—who head coach Chris McArdle said is one of his on-field leaders—is a fourth-year concurrent education student from Denfield, Ont. and a graduate of Medway High School. She has immersed herself in her sport over the last several years, playing for her high school team, for Queen’s, at the Senior National Championships, at national team training camps and for the University of Western Australia while on exchange.

“[Australia was] so good, they play a totally different style of game,” she said. “It’s very high-paced, and the focus is on having vision on the field, setting up plays two passes in advance. That was the biggest thing I learned.”

Fortner also takes time out of her busy schedule to give back to local field hockey, acting as the coordinator for high school field hockey refereeing in Kingston. According to McArdle, if she hadn’t taken on this role, there would have been no competitive high school season in Kingston this year.

“I loved my time at my high school, and it’s a sport that not too many people are involved in,” she said. “So there’s an opportunity for the older girls to go and give back to the younger girls. Since I’m in ConEd, I want to be a high school coach someday, so this was an opportunity to be involved while I’m in university.”

For now, Fortner must turn her attention to the team’s final regular season weekend, which begins tomorrow at York.

“We just want to keep continuing strong—our big focus is in two weekends time, when the OUAs come around,” she said. “In terms of this weekend, we’re seeing it as another building block towards the OUAs. Obviously we would like to get three wins, but we want to come out, play our game and play really strong.”

Fortner said she is confident in the team’s abilities, since they have lost just two of their 11 games thus far.

“We’ve shown that we’re as good as, if not better than, all the top teams in the league, so it comes down to us bringing our A-game in big games,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a good playoff run to watch for—our goal is to make it to nationals.

Fortner added she gives a great deal of credit to her coach of several years, Tom Green. He has been the Gaels’ head coach for the past three years and is an assistant coach this year, his last with the team.

“He has had a lot to do with my development as a player and of the Queen’s team as a whole,” Fortner said.

Clinton McCullough

Men’s Hockey

Clinton McCullough knows how to make a great first impression.

The rookie right winger on the men’s hockey team began his career as a Golden Gael in outstanding fashion last weekend, scoring three goals and adding one helper as the men’s team defeated Geneseo—a Division III NCAA university from Potsdam, New York—7-3 in an exhibition game.

“It was just a good day,” McCullough said. “I felt great out there.”

For the Gaels, McCullough proved to be the spark they needed to grab the win over Geneseo. They went into the second period of the game facing a 3-0 deficit, and McCullough scored on his first shift of the second period to begin the Gaels comeback.

“I guess that goal got the ball rolling,” he said.

McCullough went on to add an assist and two more goals—including the game winner—as the Gaels came from behind to overcome their pre-season test.

The first-year economics student said he decided to try-out for the Gaels hockey team this year because of his love for the game. Having played the sport his entire life, he said he felt he should make sure it was a part of his collegiate career.

Before attending Queen’s, McCullough attended St. Andrew’s College in his hometown of Aurora, where he played hockey for his high school team.

Last season the St. Andrew’s Saints hockey team were champions of the Midwest Prep Hockey League, the MacPherson Tournament and the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association League.

In his final year, he was eighth in league scoring with seven goals and 15 points in 10 regular season games.

McCullough said he is looking forward to the upcoming season with his new team.

“I’m very excited to get the season going,” he said. “It’s a great group of guys—it’s been really fun so far.”

McCullough added he is particularly exciting to be coached by former NHL star Kirk Muller.

“It has been awesome working with Muller so far,” he said. “It’s a really great experience.”

The men’s hockey team opened their regular season last night with a 2-1 loss to RMC, with McCullough scoring the lone goal for his first regular-season tally as a Gael.

His impressive start suggests that McCullough will be an important asset to a Queen’s offence that struggled to score goals last season.

“He’s been explosive,” head coach Kirk Muller said of McCullough. “We’ve just got to keep him hungry for those goals.”

McCullough and the team will look to capture their first win on the road this weekend as they take on York tonight and Brock on Saturday evening.

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