March 16, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 86  

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SPORTS

York Lions win Queen’s Cup

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

Leah Crane/Gazette
YEAH, BABY! OH YEAH! WHERE’S RUDY AT? York Lions players take part in a spirited celebration after winning the Queen’s Cup final against Ottawa, 3-2.

It only took York University men’s hockey coach Graham Wise one year to win his first Queen’s Cup championship as the Ontario University Athletics champions.

On Sunday night at Thompson Arena he finally got his second — 16 years later. The York Lions defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees 3-2 in the Queen’s Cup final to give York their first championship since 1988, when they won their fourth of four straight finals.

“[1988] was my first year as head coach,” Wise said. “Dave Chambers coached the previous three years when we won. Since then, I had lost four straight finals, and in the first three we didn’t even score a goal.”

The game, which started very cautiously on each side, turned out to be a nail-bitter with the winning goal coming with just over one minute left to play in regulation.

After a scoreless first period in which both teams looked like they were playing to make sure nobody got hurt, the action picked up in the second period.

York got on the scoreboard first on a goal by Jerry Connell half way through the period. They added to their lead shortly after when Phil Knapp gave the Lions a 2-0 lead. York looked to have things well in hand until Ottawa’s Dave Campbell scored a weak goal that beat Derek Dolson, who was coming off a 50-save performance against Lakehead on Saturday.

That set the stage for an exciting third period with Ottawa pressing to try to get the tying goal. York managed to hang on for most of the period, but Nevin Patterson scored at 13:46 to tie the game. The rest of the period was again played conservatively and it looked as though the game would head to overtime.

That was until an unlikely hero stepped up for the Lions. With just over a minute to play, after a scramble in front of the net and some confusion on both sides, the puck came out to Rich Kearns, who put it into the back of the net and won his team the Queen’s Cup on just his third goal of the season.

“I just spun around and put it on net, and the goalie was out of position,” Kearns said. “I’m a third-line guy and I’m used to playing against the other team’s top line. Usually it’s my job to keep the puck out of the net.”

Wise said he was proud of his team, which few thought would get this far.

Dave Picard/Gazette
SHARE THE BISCUIT, MR. CHRISTIE. Ottawa forward Jonathan Robert (right) protects the puck better than any crazed cookie aficionado from York blueliner Steve Chabbert (left).

“I give all the credit to the players. They kept battling. No one expected us to get here, but we just stuck to the game plan. Ottawa’s a helluva team — we tied them in our only regular season game and we almost went to overtime with them again.”

Ottawa coach David Leger was obviously disappointed, but said he was happy the team reached their goal of getting to nationals.

“There were two good teams here tonight and one had to lose. I’d rather lose here than at nationals.”

By winning their semi-final games on Saturday, both York and Ottawa will be heading to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships next week in New Brunswick, which may have caused some of the restrained play. Wise disagreed.

“We coach every game to win,” he said. “We were not thinking about nationals, we were thinking about the Queen’s Cup.”

 

 

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