The No. 6 nationally-ranked York University Lions men's hockey team posted a 5-3 victory over the No. 9 Windsor Lancers on Wednesday night at South Windsor Arena to take the opening game of their OUA West Final best-of-three series.
The Lions are now 5-0 in the post-season and are one game away from qualifying for their first Queen's Cup since 2004.
For the third time in as many series-opening games, the Lions needed a comeback to win after falling behind early. Against the Lancers, they trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before scoring three unanswered goals to pull away with the victory.
The first period went nearly scoreless, but the Lancers earned a 1-0 lead just 22 seconds before the final whistle when Justice Dundas scored his second of the playoffs.
It didn't take long for the Lions to capitalize, however, as regular-season scoring leader Derek Sheppard (Ajax, Ont.) netted his fourth of the playoffs only 49 seconds into the second period to tie the score at 1-1.
At 10:29 Windsor captain Blake Blondeel gave his team the lead again, but the turning point of the contest came minutes later when the Lions scored twice in a 1:02 span to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. Tyler Mort (Keswick, Ont.) got things started to level the game again, and Greg Milner (Watford, Ont.) found the back of the net for York's first lead of the night.
The score remained 3-2 in the Lions' favour until 12:36 of the third period, when rookie Scott Feser (Red Deer, Alta.) scored a laser of a goal for a 4-2 lead.
Desperate to close the gap before the end of the game, Windsor pulled its goalie for the extra attacker and was rewarded with a goal off the stick of Konner Haas. However, 41 seconds later Trevor Petersen (Thornhill, Ont.) added one into an empty net to round out the scoring.
York goaltender Mack Shields (Saskatoon, Sask.) continued his stellar run in the playoffs, backstopping the Lions to their fifth straight win with 26 saves on the 29 shots he faced. His counterpart at the other end of the rink, Blake Richard, stopped 25 shots to take the loss.
The series will now shift back to Toronto, with Game 2 set for Friday night at 7pm at Canlan Ice Sports and the Lions able to advance with a victory. If a Game 3 is necessary, it will be played on Saturday night also at 7pm.
Source: York Lions