Quest for the Cup: A closer look at the second round matchups hitting the ice this week

Quest for the Cup: A closer look at the second round matchups hitting the ice this week

Burlington, Ont. - Eight series hit the ice in Round 1, but not a single matchup went the distance to determine a winner. The top four seeds on both sides made quick work of their first-round foes, but as the page flips to Round 2, the opponents get tougher, the stakes get higher, and the remaining eight squads need to put it all on the line to take the next step in their quest for the Queen's Cup.

East Division | West Division

East Division

No. 4 Queen’s Gaels (18-10-0) v. No. 1 Ottawa Gee-Gees (22-2-4)

Schedule (Best-of-Three):
Game 1 | Queen’s @ Ottawa | Wednesday, February 20 @ 7:30pm
Game 2 | Ottawa @ Queen’s | Friday, February 22 @ 7:30pm
Game 3 (if necessary) | Queen’s @ Ottawa | Sunday, February 24 @7:30pm

Quick Hits: Ottawa kept their pedal to the metal in the opening round to carry their strong regular season play into their quest for the Queen’s Cup. They found the back of the net early and often in the opening round with little push back from the Voyageurs, but that could change come Round 2. The Queen’s Gaels not only punched their ticket to a date with the Gee-Gees, but they did so by proving their fortitude in tight games and an ability to bounce back in all situations. This strong, resilient play should provide Ottawa with a far greater challenge in Round 2, but only time will tell if it is enough to send them packing earlier than expected.

Last Round: It was a clinical performance from the top-seeded Gee-Gees in their opening round, as they left no doubt why they boasted the best record during the regular season. The 22-win squad added two more in their best-of-three sweep against Laurentian, shining on both ends of the ice. Certainly, allowing just one goal per game would give any team a chance to win, but combining that with 13 goals in just two games will surely make a statement to the rest of the remaining contenders. Kevin Domingue (Laval, Que.) led the way in Game 1 with four goals on the night, but five other Gee-Gees put home multi-point efforts in the 8-1 win. The offensive juggernaut was at it again in Game 2 with a five-goal output, including another pair from Domingue to bring his postseason-leading total to six in just two games. In front of the steady play of Anthony Brodeur (Morin Heights, Ont.), who allowed just two goals on 48 shots, Domingue and the offence are looking to carry this frightening pace into Round 2.

While Queen’s also swept away their first-round foes, it was a far tighter matchup than their second-round combatants. A powerplay marker from Slater Doggett (Oakville, Ont.) halfway through the third period in Game 1 was the difference in that one, as the Gaels played their way to a 3-2 win on home ice. Defenceman Spencer Abraham (Campbellville, Ont.) added to his storied career with the game-tying marker late in the second frame. Things were even closer in the second game, but it didn’t start out that way for the Gaels. Queen’s went down 3-0 to Concordia just over five minutes into the second, but a quick response from Doggett, followed by another three tallies from the Tricolour got them right back in the driver’s seat. The teams ultimately needed not one, but two extra frames to decide a winner, but early in that second overtime, it was Liam Dunda’s (Grimsby, Ont.) second goal of the game that gave the Gaels the game and series win.

Season Series: The teams first crossed paths in early November and played their way to a closely-contested result. The Garnet and Grey jumped out to a two-goal cushion through the first half of the game, but Queen’s was able to tie it up by the midway point of the third. Less than two minutes later, however, Ottawa’s Jean-Francois Plante (Richmond, Que.) put the Gee-Gees back in front for good, as an empty-netter sealed the deal on the win.

It was a similar start in their second meeting, as Ottawa once again used a goal in the first and second periods to secure a 2-0 lead. Luke Edwards (Kingston, Ont.) cut the lead in half for the Gaels late in the second, but that’s as close as Queen’s would get. Yvan Mongo (Gatineau, Que.) brought the lead back to two before another empty-netter clinched the 4-1 win and the 2-0 season series for the Gee-Gees.

November 3, 2018 | Queen’s 2 Ottawa 4
December 1, 2018 | Ottawa 4 Queen’s 1


No. 3 McGill Redmen (17-7-4) v. No. 2 Carleton Ravens (18-5-5)

Schedule (Best-of-Three):
Game 1 | McGill @ Carleton | Thursday, February 21 @ 7:00pm
Game 2 | Carleton @ McGill | Saturday, February 23 @ 7:00pm
Game 3 (if necessary) | McGill @ Carleton | Sunday, February 24 @ 7:00pm

Quick Hits: For the second time in as many series, the second-seeded Ravens will battle a team from the neighbouring province, and for Carleton, they’ll hope the result is the same. McGill, however, is as battle-tested as they come and are no strangers to navigating their way through the tough postseason terrain. The Redmen are coming off a convincing win to kick off their second season, much like they did a year ago when they went on to win the Queen’s Cup, but this second-round matchup will need to see both sides bring their A-game if they want to advance for a shot at this year’s title.

Last Round: Carleton’s opening round saw them conquer the UQTR Patriotes, albeit in a series that saw several unique periods of hockey. In their first game, a scoreless opening 20 minutes set the table for a close contest, but the rest of the game was night and day for both sides. Carleton flexed their muscle in the second, potting four goals to take a commanding 4-0 lead. The final result, however, was much closer than expected at the time, as UQTR used a three-goal third period to bring the final to within just one. Looking to seal the deal on their first series win against the Patriotes in seven attempts, the Ravens turned in a strong Game 2 performance. The visitors would go up 2-0 early, but Carleton responded in a big way, scoring three of the next four goals to knot things up a 3-apiece early in the third. It took until five minutes to go in the game, but the Ravens would put the pressure on late, as Dakota Odgers (Spy Hill, Sask.) and Jared Steege (Cobden, Ont.) provided the heroics that ultimately powered Carleton to the 6-3 win and series sweep.

Similar to Carleton, McGill used a couple of big periods to carry them to the 2-0 series win over the UOIT Ridgebacks, and it started with a four-goal second frame in Game 1. The Redmen’s offensive depth was on full display in that stretch, as four different players helped to quickly erase the 1-0 deficit and put McGill firmly in control. They would make it six straight tallies thanks to Samuel Tremblay (St. Basile Le Grand, Que.) and Keanu Yamamoto (Spokane, WA) before UOIT would get one back, but it was far too little, too late. In the encore, McGill wasted no time getting to the Ridgebacks, as they transferred their four-goal period to the first. Tremblay would once again find the scoresheet – just 38 seconds into the game – and the floodgates opened from there before he ultimately book-ended the six-goal output with his second of the game. All in all, McGill notched 12 goals in their two-game sweep and Louis-Philip Guindon (St. Joseph du Lac, Que.) looked strong between the pipes, so the Redmen appear to be set up well for their second-round clash with Carleton.    

Season Series: These two teams all but spanned the gamut during their season series, going from down-to-the-wire finishes to blowout results, but ultimately, it was Carleton earning the edge on the year despite being outscored by a combined margin of 12-11.

The first meeting was the definition of back-and-forth, as the two teams traded goals through much of the game. Five alternating goals were scored in the first period before Nikolas Brouillard (St. Hilaire, Que.) ultimately broke the trend to give McGill the two-goal cushion. Carleton would, fittingly, respond with a pair of their own to force overtime, before Jacob Smith (Oshawa, Ont.) got the black birds the win in the extra frame. A similar script was also seen in their third meeting, as the team’s alternated the first five tallies once again. The fifth goal, from Carleton’s Alexandre Boivin (Ottawa, Ont.) gave the Ravens a 3-2 lead and ultimately proved to be the winner, as Smith would add an empty-netter to seal the deal and clinch what was the regular season rubber match.

To break up these Carleton wins, however, the Redmen flexed their offensive muscle with a potent six-goal performance early in the new year. McGill jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to four different goal-scorers, and while Carleton would get one back, another two Redmen would quickly erase any hopes of a comeback within the following two minutes. While no McGill player found the back of the net on multiple occasions, they did have five players turn in multi-point performances, and they’ll need similar scoring depth on display for postseason success this week.

November 17, 2018 | Carleton 5 McGill 4 (OT)
January 12, 2019 | McGill 6 Carleton 2
January 26, 2019 | McGill 2 Carleton 4


West Division

No. 4 Guelph Gryphons (13-11-4) v. No. 1 Ryerson Rams (20-5-3)

Schedule (Best-of-Three):
Game 1 | Guelph @ Ryerson | Thursday, February 21 @ 7:15pm
Game 2 | Ryerson @ Guelpg | Saturday, February 23 @ 7:30pm
Game 3 (if necessary) | Guelph @ Ryerson | Sunday, February 24 @7:15pm

Quick Hits: The Ryerson Rams and Guelph Gryphons both saw their opening round matchups play out very similarly to their respective season series with their first-round foes, and after navigating those early waters, they are now on a collision course for what should be an intriguing second-round encounter as well. If the trend continues wherein this series follows the script of their three regular season meetings, meanwhile, the final result is anything but determined for either side with a spot in the division finals on the line.

Last Round: The No. 8 Varsity Blues gave the Rams all they could handle in the opening round, just like the GTA rivals did in their three regular season meetings. Their Round 1 opener saw the teams trade goals all game long, with Toronto twice taking the lead and Ryerson twice responding. The back-and-forth play sparked a need for overtime, and in the extra frame, it was Matt Mistele (Whitby, Ont.) who did what he did all season long for the Rams – score. Mistele’s winner may have given Ryerson the 1-0 series lead, but their opponents were by no means ready to roll over in Game 2. Toronto once again managed to get two leads, including one that they carried into the third period, but Ryerson took over from there. Mistele bulged the twine early in the third to tie things up a 2-apiece, before Mathew Santos (Toronto, Ont.) and Hayden McCool (Whitby, Ont.) did the same to give Ryerson a two-goal cushion, and ultimately, a 4-3 win.

Close in their first meeting, not so much in the second. Just like their two-game regular season story played out, so did their playoff encore. Windsor was finally able to light the lamp against Guelph – something they hadn’t done in the previous two meetings – but Guelph was quick to respond to the Windsor attack. Todd Winder (Uxbridge, Ont.) got the Gryphons to within one in the second period before tying things up later in the frame. The teams would need some additional hockey to find a winner in the opener, but it was Winder once again that provided the necessary scoring touch for Guelph, as his hat trick goal game the home side the 5-4 win. Game 2 was not nearly as close, as Guelph was as determined as ever from the opening faceoff. Winder, once again, got the festivities started just 21 seconds in, and it only got better from there. Three more Gryphons found the back of the net, including a short-handed marker from Andres Kopstals (Toronto, Ont.), and helped the team secure a 4-0 win to advance to Round 2.

Season Series: The two teams saw top production from their standout stars in their first meeting of the season, with the likes of Santos and Mistele scoring for Ryerson, as well as Winder, Cody Thompson (Mississauga, Ont.), and Scott Simmonds (Uxbridge, Ont.) for Guelph. Four-straight goals for the Rams, however, was enough to down the Gryphs, who couldn’t parlay a pair of goals in the final two minutes into a late-game comeback.

They would have their revenge; however, and in their second meeting, they left no need for heroics as they were the ones to put home four straight tallies this time around. Ryan Valentini (Mississauga, Ont.) got the scoring started for Guelph – his first of two in the game – and alongside another two from Thompson, Guelph cruised to a 6-2 win.

Neither team wanted to give up the edge in Game 3, as the rubber match proved to be their closest game yet. Ryerson got out to a 2-0 lead, which included a goal from captain Alex Basso (Toronto, Ont.), before Guelph responded with three of their own. Santos tied things up with under five minutes to play in the third period, forcing what was a fitting overtime to determine the winner. In the end, it was Valentini who notched his third goal of the season against the West’s top-seeded Rams to give Guelph the game and the season series.

October 11, 2018 | Ryerson 4 Guelph 3
January 5, 2019 | Guelph 6 Ryerson 2
January 17, 2019 | Guelph 4 Ryerson 3 (OT)


No. 3 Western Mustangs (15-12-1) v. No. 2 Brock Badgers (19-5-4)

Schedule (Best-of-Three):
Game 1 | Western @ Brock | Wednesday, February 20 @ 7:15pm
Game 2 | Brock @ Western | Friday, February 22 @ 7:00pm
Game 3 (if necessary) | Western @ Brock | Sunday, February 24 @ TBA

Quick Hits: Neither team will blow their opponents away on the scoreboard, but both can play a steady, all-around team game to clinch a winning effort, which is exactly what they did in their respective Round 1 matchups. Both the Brock Badgers and Western Mustangs stuck to their regular season strengths to guide them into Round 2 play, and it is that depth of talent, not to mention their defensive proficiencies, that will surely be a factor when they go head-to-head. When push comes to shove, it will be a matter of which team can dig that little bit deeper into their treasure trove to carry them onward and upward this postseason.

Last Round: As was their way during the regular season, the Badgers earned a pair of low-scoring victories in their clash with York to punch their ticket to Round 2. Jared Marino (Niagara Falls, Ont.) opened the scoring for the St. Catharines squad in their opener, but it was Tyler Rollo (Burlington, Ont.) who provided the deciding marker that gave the Badgers the 2-1 win. Fast forward to Game 2 and it was a slower start for Brock. The team went down two goals after the first period, but a pair of tallies Ethan Spaxman (Brantford, Ont.) over the next two frames knotted things up and forced an extra period. With nothing doing in the first overtime, the teams carried on into a second, where just 15 seconds in, Justin Brack ended the series and set Brock up for a clash with Western in Round 2.

Identical scoring lines wrapped up the Western Mustangs’ first-round series with Laurier, but one needed a little extra time to seal the deal. The two teams went back and forth in third period of the opener, after going scoreless for the first 40 minutes. Trevor Warnaar (Brampton, Ont.) and Ray Huether (Londesbourgh, Ont.) helped the Mustangs go toe-to-toe with the Hawks, but with a 2-2 score after three, the teams went to overtime to decide the winner. In the extra frame, it didn’t take long for Spenser Cobbold (Ottawa, Ont.) to put a bow on Western’s Game 1 win. From there, it was Western that jumped out to a three-goal lead in Game 2 before Laurier cut it down to a one-goal game after two. A scoreless third period left the final at 3-2; however, ensuring Western will continue their quest for the Queen’s Cup into Round 2.

Season Series: These teams met twice in a one-week span earlier in the year, but with three months since that second meeting, a great deal has changed for both teams. So while the Western Mustangs may have prevailed on both occasions in November, February brings with it brand new circumstances for Brock to bounce back or the ‘Stangs to succeed once again.

It was all Western in their first meeting, as the purple ponies scored at a consistent clip against the Badgers, getting the better of standout rookie goalie Logan Thompson (Calgary, Alta.). A four-point effort from Anthony Stefano (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) led the way for Western, who saw five different goal-scorers spark their convincing 5-1 win. The rematch was much closer, but the result remained the same. Cobbold started the scoring for Western before Brock’s Connor Brown responded. Matt Watson (London, Ont.) notched the game-winner; however, just over two minutes into the frame for Western, who will hope that their winning ways continue into their postseason clash with Brock.

November 17, 2018 | Brock 1 Western 5
November 24, 2018 | Western 2 Brock 1