The York University Lions men's hockey team qualified for the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final and earned a berth at the U SPORTS championships with a 6-3 victory over the Windsor Lancers in Game 3 of their OUA West final series on Saturday night at Canlan Ice Sports.
The result represents the first time the Lions will play in the Queen's Cup since 2004, when they were last crowned champions.
The first period provided an offensive showcase as four total goals would be scored. The Lions opened up the scoring 11 minutes into the game when Reid Jackman (Etobicoke, Ont.) sent a cross-crease pass to the awaiting Scott Feser (Red Deer, Alta.) for a one-time goal.
Shortly after, the Lancers' Kyle Hope rushed down the ice and slid the puck straight behind Mack Shields' (Saskatoon, Sask.) back on a power play to even the score at 1-1.
The Lancers' goal did not slow down the Lions momentum, however, as less than two minutes later Nick Zottl (Sarnia, Ont.) found himself digging out a puck from the boards at the top of the circle. As he felt a Windsor defenceman closing in on his back he spun around and fired a slap shot before anyone could react. The puck sliced through the air until it ricocheted off of the goaltender's glove and into the net.
Just before the end of the period, Dexter Bricker (Saskatoon, Sask.) sent a shot on net that bounced off the chest of Windsor goaltender Blake Richard for Nicholas Geiser (Bolton, Ont.) to clean up with a wrist shot. The Lions headed into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead.
The Lions entered the second period with a tremendous amount of energy and added to their lead just six minutes in when Jackman took control of the puck in the left slot and sent a quick wrist shot past Richard's blocker that chased Richard from the net. Soon after this, the Lions would score yet another goal as Greg Milner (Watford, Ont.) fired a shot that found its way through the crowded crease, with the assist on the goal credited to Derek Sheppard (Ajax, Ont.).
The Lions now held a commanding 5-1 lead, but Windsor continued to fight. Near the end of the period, Hope pulled off an impressive sequence where he spun hard at the bottom of the circle to shake off two defenders and then stick-handled through two more before firing a wrist shot to the top corner of the Lions' net for his second of the night to make the score 5-2.
York' defence stood tall for most of the third period and kept the puck away from even getting close to Shields. Late in the frame, the Lancers were on a 5-on-3 power play and got many chances off before Todd Ratchford finally got the puck to sneak past Shields.
The Lions still needed to hold their lead for two-and-a-half minutes before the final whistle, and with Windsor's net empty Feser put an end to the Lancers' hopes when he intercepted the puck at centre ice and scored the final goal of the game.
The Lions will now host the Queen's Cup next Saturday at Canlan Ice Sports and they will battle the Queen's Gaels, winners out of the OUA East, for the conference banner. Both the Lions and Gaels have also earned a spot at the national championships, while the Lancers will face the McGill Redmen for the bronze medal and the final OUA berth at nationals. Puck drop for the Queen's Cup is set for 7pm.
Source: York Lions