Volume 95, Issue 81

Thursday, March 7, 2002
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Winning the Queen's Cup will be a battle royale

The Friday night fights

Queen's Cup Information

The Friday night fights

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

If it's true familiarity breeds contempt then their should be some intense hockey on display Friday at Thompson Arena.

They say some things never change and apparently you can add the Queen's Cup to that list. Both the first round matches are re-matches of last year's opening day.

To get things started, Université du Québec a Trois-Rivieres will battle the University of Toronto, followed by a duel between Western and York. Last year, Western and UQTR advanced to the final – who will it be this year?

Brianna Mersey/Gazette
I NEVER NOTICED IT, BUT I GOT A DAMN SWEET GLOVE. York goalie Jason Gaggi will once again be a nemesis of the Mustangs in their OUA semi-final game Friday night.

UQTR vs. U of T

Friday at 4p.m.

This game should feature the skill of UQTR against the unity of the Varsity Blues. The teams split their regular season match-ups with each team winning on the other's home ice.

Toronto head coach Darren Lowe said his squad knows what to expect from UQTR. "They're a pretty skilled team that's got excellent speed and they've got three or four guys that are just tremendous players. I don't think we'll be surprised by anything," he said.

Lowe said his troops will be focusing on playing their game, rather than tailoring their style to their opponents' game. "One of our strengths is our team speed and team play in general. I don't think we're going to stray from that. With such a short span of time, you really don't want to adjust to all the teams you're playing, you hope you can take the game to them and win with your game plan," he said.

UQTR head coach Jacques Laporte identified a pair of Toronto's strengths. "I think [goaltender Jamie Bruno] is probably the best goalie in the league and I think they are the team with the most speed," he said.

Western vs. York

Friday at 8p.m.

The home side takes to the ice Friday night against a team they demolished 11-1 early on in the season, but played to a three-all draw late in the year. Fans can expect this game to more closely resemble the second regular season match.

"They have a lot of offence and they're very, very good at transition," Western head coach Clarke Singer said of York. "If you turn the puck over to them at their blue line – boom – they're gone and they're coming back with a three on two or a two on one," he added.

York head coach Graham Wise said his team will have to bring nothing less than their 'A' game.

"We've got to be ready to play. We're playing an awesome hockey team. I think we have to up to their speed and quickness," he said.

Singer identified special teams as a prime factor in these type of games. "Your power play and penalty killing systems in the playoffs are always incredibly important. I think you'll find at the end of the day the team that wins the special teams battle wins the game," he said.

At stake in both of these matches is a berth at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships. Singer said gaining an invitation to that big game is the team's primary. "Our first goal is to try and get to the final," he said.

Of course, Western has done just that the last two years, losing on both occasions to UQTR.

Singer said getting a crack at the Queen's Cup is not a common occurrence and it's something his team cherishes.

"How many opportunities do you get to win one of these? Western has only won one in 100 years," Singer said.

Starting Friday, the Mustangs will try to make it two for 101.

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