'An absolute sprint’: Inside the 2018-19 Queen’s Men’s Hockey season, part two

An eight-part series on the Gaels’ Queen’s Cup victory

The next part in an exciting story.

“Our league is an absolute sprint. You only play 28 games, and if you lose one here or there, that can be the difference between hosting the Queen’s Cup and not.” 

For Patrick Sanvido, a fifth-year defenceman for the Gaels, the 2018-19 Men’s Hockey season started in the summer, when most students headed home after a long, dreary winter semester.

Naturally, Kingston gets noticeably quieter during the summer. Yet, according to Sanvido, that’s just the way he likes it.

“I moved to Kingston in June, spent the summer here leading up to my first year, and I haven’t left since […] It’s a nice change of pace,” Sanvido said in an interview with The Journal.

Sanvido discussed his memories from that season, including the leadup to the 2018-19 campaign and the team’s first string of games.

As the story of 2018-19 unfolded in earnest, Patrick Sanvido was in the middle of it, scoring the second goal of his OUA career in the home opener against the RMC Paladins.

Coming from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Sanvido was no stranger to playing at a high level. Yet, in spite his professional experience, Sanvido still found the shift to intercollegiate play exciting.

“I think it’s better hockey […] we’re a lot bigger, we’re a lot stronger,” Sanvido said when describing the difference between the leagues.

There was another change Sanvido recalled vividly—the end of his first OUA season after a tough playoff loss in 2017-18 against Concordia.

“That first year was probably the most heartbreaking I’ve ever been a part of,” he noted.  

“I was on the ice when they scored, and I think that we were inches away from having our best forward going in on a breakaway the other way.”

The Gaels lost in overtime.  

Despite their grueling exit to Concordia, the beginning of the 2018-19 season signaled a fresh start and Sanvido was eager to build on the progress that he and the team had developed the year before.

“There was a lot up in the air; there were some guys that were coming back, but we knew we still had a good team […] We still had Spencer Abraham, we still had Slater Doggett […] we knew we still had a shot,” Sanvido said.

“We had such a good mix of young guys and older guys that were dominant. It was another exciting year.”

In the ramp-up to the regular season, the Gaels had a perfect record, notching a 6-0 statement win over RMC and victories over Waterloo and Western as well.

“Exhibition games and camp here is a little bit more about just getting that touch back, […] getting your legs back under you and getting back into shape,” he explained.

In the season opener, the Gaels went on the road to Montreal, beating McGill 2-1 in overtime with goals from defenceman Nevin Guy and forward Duncan Campbell. First-year goaltender Justin Fazio also made 32 saves, including a tough stop to keep the Gaels alive in overtime.

Returning home to the Memorial Centre, the Gaels faced off against the RMC Paladins once more. For Sanvido, that game was particularly special, as he netted a wrist shot from just inside the blue line early in the second period.

“I don’t score many goals at all. If I have five blocks in a game, that’s just as good as scoring a goal. Anytime I score, it’s almost like a surprise, a surprised excitement,” Sanvido explained.

“For me to be able to score at the [Memorial Centre], especially looking back at it now, how much I love the Memorial Centre […] it’s a pretty neat feeling.”

The Gaels went on to win that game, shutting out the Paladins 4-0.

That victory was followed up by another shut-out against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks before the Gaels suffered a lopsided loss to Guelph at home.

After that loss, the Gaels went on a winning road trip west, beating the University of Waterloo and Laurier by a combined score of 12-4. 

For Sanvido, however, there’s truly no place like home.

“I’ve played in games in the OHL where we’re playing London in front of 10,000 people, and you play RMC on a Friday night […] in front of 200 people, and the intensity is [greater].”

That intensity would be greater still in a few weeks’ time as the Gaels faced their most formidable foe yet, a team that would define the mid-point of their season: the Carleton Ravens.

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