Border Crossing

Queen's Athletics continues to send teams to the U.S. for preseason games

Gaels forward David Fitzpatrick battles with a Mercyhurst Lakers players during a game in Erie, Pa. last year.
Gaels forward David Fitzpatrick battles with a Mercyhurst Lakers players during a game in Erie, Pa. last year.
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The men’s hockey team will travel to Buffalo, N.Y. to play Niagara University and Canisius College.

Preseason trips to the U.S. are a regular occurrence with Queen’s varsity teams. Teams test themselves against NCAA competition and they don’t always lose. Men’s soccer, men’s hockey, women’s hockey, men’s basketball and men’s rugby will compete with American schools this season.

Last season, men’s hockey lost 5-0 to Robert Morris University and 8-1 to Mercyhurst College. Head coach Brett Gibson said his team struggled with a different style of hockey.

“The teams are a lot faster than what we are used to,” Gibson said. “They aren’t as physical but the speed of the game catches you off for a couple of periods.”

The team also has to deal with different rules south of the border. Last season in Pennsylvania, the Gaels had to account for rules like icing on the penalty kill and no line changes on icing calls.

Gibson said every trip to the U.S. allows his players to enjoy far better hockey facilities than his team has in Kingston. Mercyhurst College has an ice surface and their own personal gym on campus.

“They are a lot ahead of us,” he said. “I would love to see that for the Gaels in the future.”

“I wanted to get a game in against a top U.S. college or university,” he said. “[It’s a] level of competition that you don’t get [in Ontario] during preseason play.”

The men’s soccer team tied the Cornell Big Red 0-0 in last year’s match in August and earned an invitation back for another game. The two teams tied 0-0 again on Aug. 25.

“We are hoping to bring them down [to Kingston] at some point.” head coach Chris Gencarelli said. Men’s rugby has been the most successful Queen’s team to travel south. At the Dartmouth Classic in August this year, the Gaels beat Dartmouth College 36-0 and Army University 25-5.

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