Sports

The Gee-Gees will look to win their first Queen’s Cup title in program history. Photo: Ryan Matte/The Fulcrum

Men’s hockey team qualifies for national championships with win

After beating Concordia 3-2 on Thursday at home, the University of Ottawa men’s hockey team looked to sweep the OUA East final in Stingers’ territory on Saturday night and punch their ticket to the Queen’s Cup Championship.

Goaltender Domenic Graham got his eighth-straight start of the postseason for the Gee-Gees, who looked to shut down Concordia’s fast-paced offence.

Early in the first period, a scramble in front of the Gee-Gees net ensued. Concordia’s Anthony Beauchamp found the loose puck and broke down the ice, scoring an early goal to put Concordia up 1-0 just two minutes into the game.

Ottawa responded less than two minutes later when Yvan Mongo dangled around a Concordia defenceman and slid the puck past the outstretched Concordia netminder for a beautiful goal, with an assist from Mike Poirer. The game was tied at 1-1. 

In a blur, the Gee-Gees took a 2-1 lead with a goal from their leader Quinn O’Brien 14 seconds after Mongo’s goal, with assists from Dominic Cormier and Marco Azzano. 

Nearing the end of the period, the Stingers got into penalty trouble but Tyler Hylland scored a late goal shorthanded to tie the game up. 

At the end of a hectic first period, the Gee-Gees and Stingers remained tied 2-2 

Early in the second period, Concordia continued to have trouble staying out of the penalty box as Martin Frenchette drew a hooking penalty and the Gee-Gees went back to the powerplay. 

On the man-advantage, Kevin Domingue converted on a long-range missile from the top of the right circle to give Ottawa their lead back, making it 3-2 Gees. 

Late in the second period, Ottawa doubled their lead as Matt Dunlop fired a shot on net that bounced right to Brendan Jacome, who capitalized on the rebound. Cody Drover picked up the secondary assist. 

The Gee-Gees led after 40 minutes 4-2. 

Twenty-nine seconds into the third period,  Domingue sniped his second powerplay goal of the game on a pretty passing play from Drover and Connor Sills. 

Six minutes later, Jacob Hanlon blew by a Concordia defender and dropped a perfect saucer pass cross-crease to  Mattinen, who extended the Gee-Gees lead to four. 

After Sweeney went to the box on a cross-checking penalty, Concordia desperately tried to rekindle their offence on the powerplay and pulled their goaltender for a six-on-four advantage with plenty of time remaining. The risky move by Concordia failed, as Mongo scored shorthanded on the empty net and put the game out of reach at 7-2.

After allowing two goals in the first period, Graham stopped all 18 shots in the final 40 minutes and stopped 27 out of 29 to secure the win and claim the OUA East title. 

In the final moments, the out-of-town fans were on their feet cheering when they knew their team was heading to the Queen’s Cup Championship and USports national championships.

With many great individual performances, Yvan Mongo received player of the game honours, scoring two goals including the opening goal and a short-handed empty netter to seal the deal. 

Domingue, Drover, and Mattinen sit on top of the postseason points race with 10 points each. Domingue is leading in postseason scoring with seven goals, while Mattinen leads the postseason in assists with eight. Graham has been the best at keeping pucks out of the net in the postseason with a 1.99 goals allowed average.

Ottawa will now face the Guelph Gryphons in a one-game OUA final. The game will be held in the Royal city as the Gryphons finished the regular season with a better record then the Gees. the day and time of the game are yet to be determined.

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