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Gaels fall to Paladins in Carr-Harris Cup

The Queen’s Gaels and RMC Paladins men’s hockey teams faced off in the annual Carr-Harris Cup on Thursday, Feb. 7 at the Leon’s Centre in Kingston. Dating back to 1886, it is the oldest rivalry in hockey. The Paladins won the game 5-1. (Photo by Robin Kasem)

The Queen’s Gaels (18-9-0) fell to the RMC Paladins (6-19-2) by a score of 5-1 in the Carr-Harris Cup on Thursday, Feb. 7 at the Leon’s Centre. 

The game saw a record 3,888 fans, surpassing the previous record of 3,524 set in 2018.

As should be expected in hockey’s oldest rivalry, dating back to 1886, the opening minutes of the Carr-Harris Cup were a tense, physical affair, with both teams laying big hits and firing up their respective fanbases.

The Paladins opened the scoring at 12:43 of the first period, right as a power-play was ending, when Liam Stagg’s short side wrist shot beat Gaels goalie Justin Fazio.

The Paladins would add to their advantage at 16:52 when Rhett Wilcox blasted a slapshot through a screen. The Paladins took the 2-0 lead into the first break.

RMC got off to a dream start in the second period, scoring two goals within the opening two minutes and taking a commanding 4-0 lead while chasing Fazio from the net, who was replaced by Jack Flinn.

The Gaels would respond however, as Queen’s captain Spencer Abraham fired a slapshot from the point past RMC netminder Austin Hannaford at 5:26 of the second on the powerplay. With his goal, Abraham tied Aaron Fransen for the Gaels all-time record in points as a defenceman with 116 points, and closed the Paladins lead to three at 4-1.

Despite the Gaels having numerous chances it was the Paladins who found the back of the net late in the second period, as Cameron Lamport’s snapshot was tipped by a Gaels defender and through the legs of Flinn to stretch the lead to 5-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Although matching up much more evenly with the Paladins in the third period, the Gaels were unable to find the answer and the final period would finish scoreless, giving the RMC Paladins a convincing 5-1 win. 

With the victory, the Paladins took home the Carr-Harris Cup for the second time in the last three seasons, avenging last year’s thrilling 6-5 overtime loss at the hands of the Gaels.

“(RMC) earned every part of that win and I expected that result when our team doesn’t work,” Gaels head coach Brett Gibson said after the game. “We played a team that was out of the playoffs and really had this game to play for and we didn’t have any urgency whatsoever.”

The Carr-Harris Challenge Cup trophy features the “Lennie” sculpture by Kingston native Joan Belch. It depicts Lennox Irving, the Queen's player who scored the lone goal in the inaugural game between RMC and Queen’s on March 10, 1886.