BURLINGTON, Ont. - The York University Lions and Queen's University Gaels will battle for Ontario University Athletics (OUA) supremacy on Saturday night when they face off in the 106th Queen's Cup OUA Men's Hockey Championship presented by CCM.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm at Canlan Ice Sports and tickets are currently on sale here. If you can't make it to Canlan, fans can catch all the action streaming live on OUA.tv.
It has been a long time since either team last lifted the Queen's Cup. The Lions are making their first appearance since winning the OUA championship in 2004, while the Gaels last won the conference banner in 1981. Overall, the Lions have claimed the trophy five times, including a run of four straight from 1985-88, while the Gaels have been crowned champions six times, with the other five all coming between 1904 and 1914.
The Lions and Gaels had nearly identical records in the regular season, with York putting together an 18-6-4 mark to finish second in the OUA West and Queen's going 18-7-3 for third place in the OUA East.
To get to this point, the Lions earned series sweeps over the Lakehead Thunderwolves in the first round and the Guelph Gryphons in the quarter-finals, and then eliminated the Windsor Lancers in three games in the semifinals.
The Gaels, meanwhile, needed three games to get past both the Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Concordia Stingers, and then posted a two-game upset victory over the top-seeded McGill Redmen in the OUA East final.
On the surface, the match-up promises to be a low-scoring goaltending duel between two of the best netminders in the country. On one side, the host Lions feature first-year goalie Mack Shields (Saskatoon, Sask.), who led the OUA in goals against average in the regular season (1.78) and was second in save percentage (.930) and was recently named the OUA West rookie of the year and a first-team all-star. At the other end of the rink will be Kevin Bailie (Belleville, Ont.), a former OUA and CIS rookie of the year who is the hottest goaltender in the playoffs with a goals against average of 1.10 and a save percentage of .969, both top marks in the conference.
Surprisingly, the lone meeting between the two teams in the regular season ended with a 5-4 shootout victory for the Lions on home ice. In that contest, the Lions put four pucks past Bailie and erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, while Shields came on in relief of Alex Fotinos (Toronto, Ont.) after two periods and played 30 minutes of shutout hockey.
The Lions will continue to rely heavily on third-year defenceman Derek Sheppard (Ajax, Ont.), their regular-season scoring leader who is also tied for the OUA lead in the playoffs with eight points in seven games. He was named the OUA West most valuable player for the first time and also the OUA West defenceman of the year for the second straight year on Wednesday.
The Gaels' leading scorer in the regular season was Slater Doggett (Oakville, Ont.), an OUA East all-star for the first time, while Dylan Anderson (Greely, Ont.) has six points in the playoffs to lead the team, including a hat trick in the series clincher against McGill.
Both squads have also qualified for the U SPORTS championships, which will be hosted by the University of New Brunswick and will begin on Thursday in Fredericton. A third OUA berth is also up for grabs for the winner of the OUA bronze medal game between the Redmen and the Lancers, which is set for Friday night in Montreal.