National run ends short for men's hockey

5-1 loss to UNB ends U Sports run after one game 

Kevin Bailie covering the puck in the OUA East final.
Kevin Bailie covering the puck in the OUA East final.

While the Gaels went into the U Sports Championship in Fredericton with a confidence attained from their successful regular season, their national playoffs stint was cut short. The Gaels lost 5-1 in the first game to the tournament host, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. The game brought the Gaels’ 2016-17 run to an end, and the team finished fifth in the country.  

Nobody was available for an interview regarding the U Sports tournament at the time of print. 

Regardless of this post-season loss, the Gaels were able to celebrate great successes during their regular season and the OUA playoffs. They finished second in the OUA after attending the Queen’s Cup for the first time in 36 years. 

The team finished the regular season with a record of 18-10, 79 goals and 134 assists. The team also became well known for its star players — most notably goaltender Kevin Bailie, who was considered to be the best goaltender in the OUA playoffs with a league best goals against average (1.10) and save percentage (.969).

Among the season’s highlights was an international tournament which featured head coach Brett Gibson and four of his best players — Slater Doggett, Eric Ming, Bailie and Spencer Abraham — representing Canada in Kazakhstan. While there, the four players ensured that Queen’s was well represented as they competed as part of an all-star U Sports team. While the Gaels back home struggled at first without these key players at the helm, their absence ultimately led to a growth in the team’s depth. 

During the majority of their regular season, the Gaels had a mixed bag of talent. They had a combination of a deadly first line and a group of younger inexperienced players on the bench. While the team suffered from the loss of their top four players while away on national duty — which resulted in a loss against RMC in the annual Carr-Harris cup — the team was able to achieve a depth to their roster by the end of their season. 

The team’s forwards were led by Doggett and Ming, who dominated the Gaels’ attack both separately and together, accounting for a third of the team’s overall scoring. Forward Darcy Greenaway led the Gaels in the absence of Doggett and Ming during the Carr-Harris Cup and finished the season with five goals and eight assists. Third year forward Ryan Bloom also took on a fair bit of the teams offense, finishing the regular season with 10 goals and 14 assists.

Another standout performer was fifth-year veteran Dylan Anderson, who made some major plays in the OUA playoffs, scoring three goals against the McGill Redmen in the semi-finals, finishing the regular season with five goals and seven assists. Together, the five players made up the majority of the Queen’s attacking line and contributed to the Gaels’ 13th ranked offense in the league with 79 goals over the regular season. 

Defensively, the Gaels were led by the powerful combination of Spencer Abraham — who spent time before the regular season at the Florida Panthers training camp — and Patrick Downe. Downe and Abraham’s presence from the backline was a powerful force during the regular season, producing a combined total of 22 assists.

Although the Gaels ended the season with only an OUA silver medal to show for it, they improved on last year’s first round OUA playoff exit and has been one of the most competitive teams Queen’s has fielded in decades.

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