Thirty-six years in the making for men’s hockey

Eric Ming scored 13 goals and 15 assists this season.
Image supplied by: Journal File Photo
Eric Ming scored 13 goals and 15 assists this season.

This Saturday, the Gaels will travel to North York to battle the York University Lions for the 106th Queen’s Cup — a competition the Gaels haven’t had the opportunity to take part in since 1981. 

The men’s hockey team has been particularly strong this season. Goaltender Kevin Bailie, the strongest in the OUA playoffs, had the best goals against average (1.10) and save percentage (.969) of the playoffs. Conversely, the Lion’s goaltender, Mack Shields, was one of the top of the regular season with a goals against average of 1.78 and a save percentage of .930. 

Forwards Eric Ming, Slater Doggett and Dylan Anderson give consistent and effective offensive attacks, while defensemen Spencer Abraham and Patrick Downe both stop attacks and support offensive efforts.  

Ming, a third-year forward and one of the team’s lead scorers, says the team is excited for the game this Saturday. “We’re really proud of the work we’ve put in to get here, we feel like we have earned the right to play for the Queen’s Cup and we are prepared and excited for Saturday,” Ming said. “To play for this trophy is an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often so hopefully we can relax and enjoy the experience.”

The only time the Lions and Gaels faced each other during the regular season resulted in a 5-4 shootout loss for the Gaels on the Lions’ turf, where the teams will face off again this weekend. 

“The bigger ice in York is an adjustment,” Ming said. “Being over aggressive can get us into trouble if we get too spread out.  We just have to pay attention to our positioning and try and keep our mistakes to a minimum.” 

“I think the team that sticks to their system and doesn’t get exposed by mental errors will win the game, both teams are very evenly matched,” Ming said. The Gaels and the Lions had nearly parallel seasons this year, as the Gaels finished with a 18-7-3 record, and the Lions a 18-6-4 record. 

Ming feels confident in the team’s roster going into Saturday’s game. “I think the fact that our lineup doesn’t have any holes at any one position is one of our strengths,” Ming said. “We feel confident in our identity, what we are as a team. We’re going to play three periods of Queen’s hockey and find a way to win.” 

Head coach Brett Gibson also feels the energy around the team’s advancement to the Queen’s Cup that Ming discussed. “I can only talk for the 11 years that I’ve been with the program, but the program’s come a long way and to have the opportunity to flex the Queen’s Cup is an exciting time for this program,” Gibson said.

In planning for the game, Gibson is focusing on the playoff games rather than the regular season, which he sees as having more merit for preparation. “[The Lions] are playing really well. They’re a very well-coached team, obviously with Chris Dennis being Coach of the Year back-to-back, so we’re  going to have to be on our best. But I like the match up, a one game series, we’re well-prepared and well-rested going into it.” 

In terms of his roster, Gibson is satisfied that the team has achieved a depth that wasn’t necessarily there during the start of the regular season. “The way the playoffs have gone, it’s been surprise guys that have stepped up at opportune times,” Gibson said. “Dylan Anderson scoring three goals against McGill, Andrew Johnson scoring the game winner in game one, it goes on and on,” Gibson said. 

However, he still has faith in the team’s tried and true powerhouse players. “I’m excited because we have a great team and different guys have stepped up at different opportunities but obviously everything starts with Kevin Bailie. If he’s on, I think we’ll have great success,” Gibson said.  

“We’ve been battle tested already and we’re not scared of anyone.”


brett gibson, Eric Ming, Men's hockey, OUA playoffs

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