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2014-11-06


Photo courtesy of Jim Bouzianis

A preview of East Division teams McGill Redmen, Bishop's Gaiters and Queen's Gaels heading into this weekend's Baggataway Cup finals.

McGill Redmen (12-0)

There is no question that McGill has established itself as a powerhouse in CUFLA. 2014 marks the school's second straight undefeated season in the league, this time winning all 12 games it played against Canadian competition. And once again McGill supplemented its league schedule with exhibition games against US schools to provide more of a challenge. McGill heads into the Baggataway as heavy favourites to return to the title game and challenge for the championship they won in 2012.

Spencer Bromley led the Redmen with 26 goals but the team features a balanced scoring attack, with six other players hitting double digits in goals. That number would be even higher had Leland de Langley and Tayler Sipperly been able to play the full season. The team led the East Division with 176 goals scored. They're not just about the offence, though. McGill also led the East for fewest goals allowed, letting in just 60 for an average of five per game.

Their toughest competition of the season came from Bishops, who pushed McGill in an 8-7 Redmen win on September 25. They also won a one-goal game against Queen's, prevailing 7-6 on September 20. Most of their games weren't particularly close. That can make things difficult for a team when they head to the Baggataway Cup, where every team will be competive. McGill will need to be ready for a challenge when they hit the field for the semifinals. That's where scheduling games with US colleges comes in handy for the Redmen.

Once again, the McGill lineup has an eclectic flavour, with 19 players on the roster from the United States and seven from British Columbia.

Matchup

McGill's first seed puts it straight into a semfinal on Saturday at the Oshawa Civic Recreation Complex, when it will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between Western and Queen's.

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Bishop's Gaiters (10-2)

A look at the standings doesn't show a lot of difference between the Gaiters and the Redmen. McGill scored just 11 more goals over the full season than Bishop's and allowed only six fewer. The glaring difference, of course, is the two in the loss column for Bishops where McGill has a goose egg. As the September 25 game, showed, though, the Gaiters can definitely compete with the east's top team. Their challenge is to find a way to pull out wins against the league's toughest competition.

The Gaiters' potent offence is led by Ryan Dewar, who was second in the East with 29 goals and added 15 assists, tied for the team lead. Dewar is a threat any time he has the ball in his stick. Much like the Redmen, Bishop's has balance on attack after their leader, with six other players scoring at least 10 goals.

They've tightened up on the defensive end from last year, allowing six fewer goals while playing two more games. The saying is that defence wins championships and Bishop's has worked hard to make it more difficult for opponents to score on them.

Bishop's beat Trent 12-8 in the first round of the playoffs.

Matchup

Just like last year, Bishop's will face the Guelph Gryphons in the quarter finals on Friday. The teams have not played this year. Last year, Guelph won that game en route to becoming the Baggataway Cup champions.

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Queen's Gaels (7-5)

Queen's made its first Baggataway appearance last fall and it was a spectacular one. The Gaels came back from a four-goal deficit with 13 minutes to play, scoring three goals in the final minute to upset the Western Mustangs in the quarterfinals. This year the Gaels will come into the Baggataway with more experience but a similarly high mountain to climb when they again face the Mustangs in the quarterfinals.

Queen's won seven games and scored plenty of goals in the process, totaling 163 in their 12 games. Joshua Smith led all CUFLA scorers with 60 points off 38 goals and 22 assists and Brendan Zoehner was the top setup man with 36 assists (along with 23 goals for 59 points). After those two there is a big drop, with the next highest scorer having 28 points. Other players will need to step up and help out more if opponents are able to focus on Smith and Zoehner and limit their impact.

Defence is an issue for the Gaels heading into the Baggataway. They allowed 92 goals, more than any other team in the final six except for Guelph. The Gaels had to battle just to get back to the Baggataway. They edged the Carleton Ravens 7-6 in the first round of playoffs last weekend to advance.

Matchup

Queen's faces the Western Mustangs in the quarter-finals on Friday. ?




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