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Gaels advance to McCaw Cup final

Queen's Gaels women's hockey team celebrates
The Queen's Gaels women's hockey team celebrates after beating the Nipissing Lakers 2-1 to advance to the McCaw Cup final, where they will face the Western Mustangs. (Photo by Ian MacAlpine)

A quick roundup of Queen's Gaels teams and athletes in OUA Playoffs competition over the weekend:

WOMEN'S HOCKEY

The No. 6 Queen's Gaels are off to the McCaw Cup after a thrilling 2-1 win over the No. 10 Nipissing Lakers on Friday night. The Gaels were able to hold off a frantic surge by the Lakers in the final period to preserve the victory and advance to the OUA Championship which will be hosted by Queen’s next Saturday against the Western Mustangs. 

As has been the story all season, Stephanie Pascal was great in between the pipes for Queen’s, making 32 saves in the victory.

The Gaels were the first on the board capitalizing on a five-on-three power play, with Hailey Wilson banging home a rebound.

Addi Halladay added a second goal for Queen’s late in the first when she picked up a loose puck in front of the Lakers net and blasted a snap shot past Lakers goalie Jackie Rochefort to put the Gaels ahead 2-0, much to the delight of the home crowd at the Memorial Centre.

Nipissing gave Queen’s all they could handle in the third period, as their season hung in the balance. The Lakers made a very bold move with just over seven minutes remaining when they pulled Rochefort for an extra attacker. The move worked out as Katelyn Heppner beat Pascal with a slap shot from the point.

The Lakers pulled Rochefort once again with less than two minutes remaining to make one final push, but the Gaels defence stood strong.

The Gaels will face the No. 9 Western Mustangs in the McCaw Cup Final on Saturday, March 10 in Kingston. Puck drop is set for 2:30 pm and can be seen live on OUA.tv. Tickets are available at gogaelsgo.com/tickets

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

The Queen's Gaels went into London and upended the OUA West second-seeded Western Mustangs on Saturday to advance to the OUA Final Four.The Gaels won in four sets 25-22, 22-25, 25-17 and 26-24.

The Gaels will next face the Ryerson in the Forsythe Cup Final Four to be hosted in Hamilton on Friday, March 9. Head coach Brenda Willis, who is set to retire after the season, is guaranteed at least two more matches.

In a closely-fought game the Gaels got big performances from Zac Hutcheson who had 23 kills and Markus Trence with 19 kills. Zane Grossinger finished with 56 assists.

The McMaster Marauders face the Windsor Lancers in the other Final Four matchup.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL

The Queen's Gaels saw their season come to a close, losing in four sets to the Western Mustangs in their OUA quarter-final match 23-25, 24-26, 25-16 and 18-25.

The first two sets were close but Western grabbed the edge both times. With their season on the line Queen's came out hot to start the third frame and jumped ahead 16-10 at the technical timeout and took five of the final seven points with Isabelle Korchinski and Danielle Corrigan teaming up for a pair of blocks. When the dust settled, Queen’s took the set 25-16.

However, the momentum ended there and the Mustangs proved to be too much for the Gaels in the fourth set. The Mustangs now advance to the OUA Final Four next weekend.

Shannon Neville led the Gaels with 14 kills.