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Golden Gaels

Men’s hockey and volleyball teams capture OUA championships in front of home crowds.

[Gaels celebrate OUA hockey championship]
The Queen's Gaels celebrate after winning the Queen's Cup on Saturday, beating the Guelph Gryphons 4-1 at the Memorial Centre. (Photo by Jason Scourse)

MEN’S HOCKEY

The Queen’s Gaels are OUA men’s hockey champions for the first time since 1981 after defeating the Guelph Gryphons 4-1 in the Queen’s Cup championship game at the Memorial Centre in Kingston in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,800 fans.

The Gaels came out hard in the opening period, igniting the home crowd with big hits early in Saturday night’s game. A few Gaels power-play chances came up empty handed, as the goalies stole the show in the first 20 minutes of play. Justin Fazio made 10 saves in the period for Queen’s, while Andrew Masters made 11 for Guelph to keep the game scoreless heading into the first intermission.

Jaden Lindo solved Masters just 22 seconds after play restarted when Queen’s opened the period on the power play. Lindo deflected a Spencer Abraham point shot in close to give the Gaels the lead. However, just before the second period expired, Guelph’s Marc Stevens brought his team level when his shot on goal slipped past Fazio.

The Queen’s Cup Champion would be decided in the final 20 minutes of play at the Memorial Centre. Scoring his fifth goal of the 2018-19 playoffs, Lindo snuck his second of the game past Masters on a sharp-angled shot as the Gaels regained the lead. Minutes later, Henry Thompson gave Queen’s a two-goal cushion when he stepped into a wrist shot from the slot.

An empty-netter from Liam Dunda secured the victory for Queen’s, who claim the top spot in OUA title for the first time in nearly 40 years

The Gaels will now head west to Lethbridge, Alta. for the U Sports national championship as the OUA champions. Visit www.usports.ca for full details on the seeding and schedule.

[Gaels celebrate OUA volleyball championship]
Zac Hutcheson and his Queen's Gaels teammates celebrate after winning the Forsyth Cup OUA men's volleyball championship on Sunday at the ARC. (Photo by Jason Scourse)

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

The Queen’s Gaels are the 2018-19 OUA men’s volleyball champions for the first time since 2011, topping the McMaster Marauders in front of 1,441 fans in five thrilling sets. The Gaels victory in Kingston put an end to McMaster’s streak of six consecutive OUA banners.

Riding the energy of the home crowd, the Gaels had a hot start in their bid to claim the top spot in the OUA. Gaels first-team All-Star Zac Hutcheson picked up a few big kills to put Queen’s ahead 16-10 at the technical timeout. McMaster couldn’t make up any ground as the set progressed, as Adam Boljkovac ended the set 25-19 with a kill from the back row for the Gaels.

The reigning OUA champions weren’t about to roll over, surging ahead to hold a six-point lead at the technical timeout. After the break, McMaster’s Matt Passalent put a Queen’s overbump into the floor as the Marauders cruised to a 25-19 win to even the match.

The Gaels responded early in the third set, starting on a 5-0 run that included a big block from Hutcheson and a pancake dig from libero Lukas Kaufman. Queen’s maintained a solid cushion at the technical timeout, ahead 16-11 after Hutcheson’s roll shot found the floor. That’s when Passalent and the Marauders mounted a comeback, tying the set at 19-19. One of Passalent’s 22 kills, an ace from McMaster’s David Doty, and a couple Gaels missed serves gave the Marauders a 25-23 win to lead 2-1 in the match.

The fourth set was all Queen’s, as the hosts reignited the crowd with a kill from Dylan Hunt to go ahead 3-1. Boljkovac played a bigger role as the match went on, going down the line multiple times to the delight of the fans. Before McMaster could get back in the set, Mitchell Neuert checked into the game to serve for the Gaels, recording an ace straight off the bench and helping Queen’s open up a 22-14 lead. Joel Rudd stepped up for a couple big points to win it 25-16 and force a fifth set.

The top two teams in the league this year needed every point of the fifth set to determine OUA supremacy, with the Gaels putting the first points on the board in the tie-breaker. Hutcheson, Boljkovac, and Rudd continued the Gaels three-pronged attack, rattling off a few quick kills as Queen’s took a 5-3 lead. On a long rally, highlighted by a dig from Kaufman and finished off by a Gaels triple block, McMaster’s Passalent went down injured, ending his day with Queen’s ahead 6-4. After the Gaels got to the technical timeout up 8-7, the Marauders forced Queen’s to make a couple errors, taking their first lead of the set at 9-8. After tying it up in the late stages of the match, a Hunt kill from the middle gave the Gaels back the lead before Rudd had the final say, crushing one last ball to win the championship for Queen’s 15-13.

Both the Queen’s Gaels and McMaster Marauders will now advance to the U Sports men’s volleyball national championship hosted by the Laval Rouge et Or next week. Official seeding and schedule is available at www.usports.ca.

Visit gogaelsgo.com for more details about Queen's University's Athletics and Recreation programs.