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Gaels women’s curling team claims first OUA banner since 1994

{Queen's Gaels women's curling team pose with the OUA banner and trophy]
The Queen's Gaels women's curling team poses with the OUA banner and trophy after winning the provincial title for the first time since 1994. (Photo by Trevor Mahoney)

A quick roundup of Queen’s Gaels teams and athletes in action over the weekend:

WOMEN’S CURLING

The Queen’s Gaels were crowned the 2019 OUA Women’s Curling Champions on Monday as the five-day championships came to a close at the KW Granite Club.

In an exciting final day that saw both gold medal games come down to the final end, the Gaels brought the OUA banner back to Queen’s for the first time since 1994.

“We're really excited to be able to bring the banner home for Queen’s,” says Gaels skip Mary Fay. “It's really nice to go to a school and you’re really proud to be a part of something so to be able to bring that home for them is really exciting.”

In the women's game, like they had done for the majority of the week, the Gaels were ruthless in their efficiency. Controlling the game with wide-open play, the Fay foursome scored two in the second and fourth ends to lead 4-1.

Laurentian managed to pull themselves back into the contest with singles in both the fifth and sixth ends but Queen’s responded with two more in the seventh to give them a three-point cushion coming home.

The Gaels then ran Laurentian out of rocks to secure the 6-4 victory.

The Gaels women’s team will now move on to the U Sports/Curling Canada Championships next month in Fredericton, N.B., hosted by the UNB Varsity Reds.

On the men’s side the Gaels finished round robin play with a 3-4 record but did not qualify for the playoffs.

MEN’S HOCKEY

The No. 10 Queen’s Gaels defeated the Concordia Stingers 5-4 in Game 2 of the OUA playoffs thanks to a double-overtime winner from Liam Dunda. The goal capped off a wild game and handed the Gaels a 2-0 series sweep over the Stingers.

The Gaels fell behind early as the Stingers scored 6:39 into the opening period. In the second period the Stingers stretched the lead to 3-0 with goals just 30 seconds apart. However, the Gaels battled back. First, Slater Doggett continued his torrid scoring pace with a great individual effort. In the later part of the period, Jaden Lindo scored to move the Gaels to within a goal heading into the third period.

Spencer Abraham netted the game-tying goal with a wicked wrister from the slot and then just over a minute later, Dunda put home a loose puck to put the Gaels ahead 4-3. The Stingers would tie it up with 12:37 left and the game headed to overtime.  

The first overtime period solved nothing but just over a minute into the second extra period, Liam Dunda worked his way along the left hand boards with the puck on his forehand. He sent an awkward shot on net that squeezed by the Concordia goalie for the game-winning goal.

Justin Fazio made 37 saves for Queen’s.

The Gaels now await their opponent in the second round.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

The Queen’s Gaels women’s hockey team (14-9-1-0) picked up a 2-1 win over the Brock Badgers (8-8-6-2) to lock up the fourth seed in the OUA.

After the hometown Badgers opened the scoring, Hailey Wilson tied it up with a powerplay goal late in the first. Outshooting the Badgers heavily in the second period Wilson would finally tap in the winner.

Goalie Stephanie Pascal shut the door the rest of the way including 11 saves in the final period.

The Gaels will begin their playoff journey next week and will have home ice advantage over the Ryerson Rams (11-7-4-2).

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

The Queen’s Gaels women's basketball team (15-8) defeated the No. 4 Ryerson Rams (17-6) 74-70 on Saturday in Toronto.

After a tough first quarter the Gaels trailed the Rams 25-16 but the Gaels found their groove in the second and went into the half trailing 41-35.  

Despite continuing struggles on offense the Gaels stayed within six heading into the final quarter and finally moved ahead 61-60 with three minutes left.  

After trading baskets back and forth for most of the remainder of the final quarter, Marianne Alarie hit a huge three-pointer with just 28 seconds remaining to put the Gaels ahead 72-68. The fifth-year’s clutch shot would prove to be the difference, as the Gaels would hold on for a 74-70 win. Marianne Alarie came up huge for the Gaels with 28 points on the night.

On Friday, the Gaels defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues (6-16) 59-51. 

After a quiet first quarter for both teams the Gaels got going in the second and took a 31-18 lead into the half. The Gaels cruised in the third, and while the Varsity Blues tried to close the gap they couldn’t and the Gaels easily held on for a 59-51 victory. 
Leading the way for the Gaels was Emma Ritcey with 14 points.

The Gaels now move to the OUA Playoffs where they will host an opening round matchup against the  York Lions (10-13). The official date and time has yet to be determined.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

The Queen’s Gaels men’s basketball team (12-11) gave the No. 3 Ryerson Rams (21-2) a scare but were unable to pull off the upset, losing 81-77 on Saturday. 

The Gaels got off to a terrific start opening the game on a 10-0 run and finished the quarter up 23-19. Queen’s kept up the pace in the second and maintained the four-point lead into the half, 34-30. Still leading 58-55 into the fourth, the Rams proved why they’re one of the very best teams in U Sports, outscoring the Gaels 26-19 and securing their 21st win of the season. 

Leading the way for the Gaels in the tight loss was Jaz Bains who scored 29 points, while Tanner Graham added 17 points and 10 rebounds.

On Friday, the Gaels beat the Toronto Varsity Blues (7-15) 71-63

After getting out to another strong start, the Gaels were able to take a 28-22 lead into the half. The Varsity Blues came out red hot and briefly took the lead but the Gaels regathered and went into the final quarter ahead 49-44.The Gaels saved their best quarter for last, utilizing the opening minutes of the fourth to establish a double-digit lead and then walked away with a comfortable victory.

Tanner Graham was dominant with 20 points and 15 rebounds as well as two blocks and two dunks.

The Gaels turn their attention to the OUA Playoffs where they will meet the Laurentian Voyageurs with Game 1 in Sudbury on Wednesday.

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

The No. 8 Queen’s Gaels men’s volleyball team (14-3) picked up a three-set victory over the Trent Excalibur (0-16) on Sunday, winning 25-15, 25-14, 25-13.

With the win the Gaels have clinched the top spot in the OUA East, with one game to go in the season – Feb. 22 vs RMC Paladins (2-15).

After an even start the Gaels jumped ahead against the winless Excalibur and easily took the first set. In the second set they got off to a stronger start and held on for an easy set win.

With victory within their grasp, the Gaels kept their foot on the gas pedal and Julian Krygel hit consecutive aces to finish the match.

Zac Hutcheson led the Gaels offense with 10 kills.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL

The Queen’s Gaels women’s volleyball team (11-6) trounced the visiting Trent Excalibur (1-16) in a straight-set victory on Sunday, 25-21, 25-15, 25-9.

After the Excalibur took an early lead the Gaels took over and took the first set. It would be the closest of the match. In both the next two sets, the Gaels scored points early and often and cruised to a dominating win. Caroline Livingston led with 14 kills.

The Gaels are at home for their final two games of the regular season – Feb. 22 vs. RMC Paladins (1-16) and Feb. 23 vs. Lakehead Thunderwolves (1-15). The Gaels currently trail the second-seeded Toronto Varsity Blues by two points.