Men's hockey wins Queen's Cup, snaps 38-year streak

Queen’s defeats Guelph 4-1 in front of sold-out crowd

Captain Spencer Abraham hoists the Queen's Cup on Saturday night at the Kingston Memorial Centre.
Captain Spencer Abraham hoists the Queen’s Cup on Saturday night at the Kingston Memorial Centre.
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On Saturday night, following a 4-1 win against the Guelph Gryphons, Queen’s restored their title as OUA champions almost 40 years after their last victorious run in 1981.

In front of a sold-out Memorial Centre crowd of 2,639, the Gaels faced off against Western Conference champions Guelph in the final fight for the OUA championship.

A strong opening left both teams scoreless in the first period, drawing cheers from the crowd as Queen’s went on the power play three times during the frame. Action on both ends drew scoring chances, but Gaels goaltender Justin Fazio and Gryphon goaltender Andrew Masters kept the door closed to the fast-paced offensive rushes.

Following the first intermission, the Gaels returned to hit the scoreboard less than twenty seconds into the second period. Coming off a point shot from captain Spencer Abraham at the blue line, forward Jaden Lindo deflected the puck to give the tricolour a 1-0 lead.

On the board, the Gaels tried to hold their advantage until the last seconds of the frame came to an end. However, with less than thirty seconds remaining on the clock, Guelph snuck one past Fazio, forcing the Gaels to enter the final frame tied up. 

With one goal already under his belt, Lindo, who was eventually named the game’s MVP, responded five minutes into the third. His shot—almost parallel with Guelph’s net—found its way in behind Masters to give the Gaels the lead and send the home crowd into a frenzy. 

Queen’s resolve proved unrelenting. Three minutes after their second goal, veteran forward Henry Thompson received a swift drop-pass from forward Jared Bethune in traffic, using the opportunity to slap the puck in top shelf. Thompson’s goal gave the Gaels a 3-1 lead heading into the final ten minutes of play.

When that wasn’t enough, forward Liam Dunda took a shot from centre-ice on the Gryphons’ empty net to seal the 4-1 victory with under a minute to go. 

As the buzzer sounded, the Memorial Centre was louder than it'd been all year.  

For captain Spencer Abraham, now in his fifth and final year with the Gaels, any sentiment following the game was “tough to put into words.” 

Achieving the goal they’d set out to do so was special, particularly for Abraham who’d played his last home-ice game for the Gaels that night. 

“[The Queen’s Cup] was our goal from day one of training camp,” he told The Journal. “To finish that off was special. This will be with us forever.” 

The Gaels took hold of the Queen’s Cup for the first time since 1981, with veteran Head Coach Brett Gibson finally lifting the trophy after 14 years of building his program.

“I’m forever indebted to those 25 guys,” Gibson told The Journal in a post-game interview about his players. “There were a lot of doubters along the way and there were a lot of low moments, but it makes it all worth it when I have [the gold medal] around my neck.”

With their victory fresh, the Gaels will head to Lethbridge, Alberta, to compete in the U Sports National Championship from Mar. 14 to 17 as the country’s third-seeded team. They’re scheduled to play the sixth-seed St. FX X-Men (15-12-3) on Friday night in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. EST.

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