Carr-Harris Cup champions

Men’s hockey goes one for two on the weekend while pushing for the final playoff berth in the OUA East

Gaels’ forward Brandon Perry battles for the puck with a Royal Military College defender in the Carr-Harris Cup match Saturday at the Memorial Centre.
Gaels’ forward Brandon Perry battles for the puck with a Royal Military College defender in the Carr-Harris Cup match Saturday at the Memorial Centre.
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Queen’s interim captain Billy Burke takes a shot against RMC Saturday.
Queen’s interim captain Billy Burke takes a shot against RMC Saturday.
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Queen’s forward Jeffrey Johnstone winds up for a slap shot Saturday at the Memorial Centre.
Queen’s forward Jeffrey Johnstone winds up for a slap shot Saturday at the Memorial Centre.
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A classic series delivered another instalment Saturday as the men’s hockey team captured the Carr-Harris Cup for the second consecutive year Saturday with a thrilling 1-0 victory over the Royal Military College Paladins. Before an enthusiastic crowd of over 800 fans from both schools, Queen’s came away with a victory on the strength of a 25-save shutout performance from Brady Morrison and a third-period goal by rookie forward Scott Kenway.

Defenceman Grant Horvath said the atmosphere made the game special.

“To have the Memorial Centre packed like that was awesome.” He said it was especially gratifying to win against RMC after a shootout loss to Ryerson on Friday.

“Our team had a rough one last night so this was a real bounce-back game,” he said on Saturday. “We went home last night feeling pretty bad, regrouped and came back.” Kenway said he wasn’t intimidated by the pressure associated with the game.

“It’s actually my first Carr-Harris Cup, but I know there’s a lot of tradition surrounding the game,” he said. “We just tried to treat it like an ordinary game.”

The game was short on goals but not on action, with both teams storming out of the gate with heavy hits and quality scoring chances. Kenway said the scoresheet, still blank after two periods, didn’t worry the team.

“We were confident in our abilities,” he said. “We were successful at times throughout the first two periods, so we just focused on our game plan.”

Morrison made several late stops to preserve the victory and was named the Gaels’ most valuable player. He said the victory was a huge confidence boost for the team.

“Tonight, we proved that we can be a really good team,” he said. “There were a couple minutes here and there where we weren’t really good, but at the end of the day, we worked really hard and everyone on the team chipped in.” Head coach Brett Gibson said the close victory was nerve-wracking, especially given RMC’s late scoring chances.

“I’m getting a couple more grey hairs, to be honest.” He said he wasn’t disappointed to see the Gaels only record one goal after a recent streak of high-scoring games.

“We won a game, I don’t care how we won the game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you score four goals or one goal.”

The win improved the Gaels’ all-time Carr-Harris Cup record to 14-7-2. The game has been contested annually between the schools since 1986 and commemorates their historic rivalry, which dates back to 1886 and is considered by many to be the oldest hockey rivalry in the world. This claim is disputed by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, in England, who are said to have played their first rivalry hockey game a year earlier.

The rest of the weekend was disappointing for Queen’s. On Friday, they conceded a vital point against the 4-20-1 Ryerson Rams, falling 4-3 in a shootout. The Gaels were slow out of the gate and allowed two quick goals in the first period, but bounced back with goals from T.J. Sutter, Kenway and Billy Burke to force a shootout. In the shootout, Ryerson’s Julian Zamparo notched the only goal to give the Rams the victory and snap Queen’s four-game winning streak.

Interim captain Billy Burke said after Friday’s loss that the Gaels didn’t play well enough to even force a shootout.

The weekend got worse for the Gaels Sunday when the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees defeated the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The 10-10-5 Gee-Gees are now tied with Queen’s for the sixth and final playoff spot in the OUA eastern conference. Queen’s currently holds the tie-breaker thanks to their 11 wins, but Ottawa has two games in hand. Queen’s assistant coach Alyn McCauley said the shootout loss against Ryerson may haunt the team down the road.

“At this point of the year and with the position we put ourselves in, we needed two points tonight, not just one,” he said. “For that reason, it’s disappointing.”

The Gaels conclude the regular season Friday against RMC at Constantine Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

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