Gaels sweep McGill for berth to OUA finals

Men’s hockey team reach Queen’s Cup for first time since 1981

Men’s hockey team is preparing for both the OUA finals and the U Sports championship.
Men’s hockey team is preparing for both the OUA finals and the U Sports championship.
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The men’s hockey team earned a place in the OUA finals with an emphatic 4-2 win over the McGill Redmen on Friday night, claiming the OUA East title in the second leg of a two-game sweep over the division leaders from Quebec.

The Gaels had been ranked third in the OUA East entering the playoffs and ultimately overcame the first and second seeds, McGill and Concordia, along with the six-seed Ottawa Gee-Gees on their road to the division title. They’ve also secured berths in both the OUA Queen’s Cup and U Sports Championship tournament.

Dylan Anderson had his finest performance of the playoffs, completing a hat trick at just 9:52 of the second period and giving the Gaels an important insurance goal, increasing their lead at the time to 4-1. Deflecting credit for the feat to linemates Brock Edwards and Darcy Greenaway who each had two assists, Anderson said, “[We] have been clicking all playoffs and we seem to play well with each other.”

The fifth-year forward, in his first year with Queen’s following four successful seasons with Acadia, added how easily his new line has managed to come together.

Having defeated the Redmen 2-1 in Montreal just two nights before in the series opener, the Gaels were certain to be facing a motivated McGill squad, keen on maintaining their top-team status in the division.

Anderson noted as much, stating how the Gaels knew McGill, “was a good team, and to close out the series we would need our best hockey.” One advantage Queen’s retained with their first away win was the possibility to clinch with their only home game in the series of three. “Playing at home was a great motivator for us,” Anderson said.

“It was nice to have a big crowd at the game and we could feel the support of the university and town behind us.” The vibrant crowd certainly appreciated the effort of their team, rising to a standing ovation in the dying seconds of the game as the Gaels on the ice braced to clear the boards and celebrate the historic victory.

The Gaels entered the game wanting to “focus on our game and what we did well as a team,” Anderson said. The always defensively-sound unit were also first off the mark nearly 15 minutes into the first period when a Brock Edwards pass set up Anderson for his first of the night.

The team maintained the pressure, adding two goals early in the second — another by Anderson in the first minute, followed by Ryan Bloom less than five minutes later. A McGill power play goal was quickly nullified in the same period when Anderson completed his hat trick, also with a one-man advantage.

Queen’s held on until the final whistle, helped along by a typically massive 34-save performance from goalie Kevin Bailie, who was called into action whenever the omnipresent Gaels shot blockers weren’t in front of the puck.

The Gaels will face the York Lions in Toronto this Saturday night in pursuit of the Queen’s Cup — the highest prize in Ontario men’s varsity hockey, and the second-oldest trophy (after the Stanley Cup) awarded on ice. Queen’s will be playing for the title for the first time since 1981, the last time the team was victorious.

No matter their result on the weekend, with their defeat of McGill, the Gaels also qualified for the U Sports Championship as the OUA East representative. The team will travel to Fredericton, N.B., with the hopes of claiming their first ever national title — and bringing the top national prize in the sport back to where university hockey first began.

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