Nipissing reached the Baggataway Cup for the first time with a mild upset of Queen's, winning 13-10, while the rest of the favourites rolled on towards the CUFLA championship weekend on Saturday.
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Queen's had beaten the Lakers twice in the regular season, by three goals each time including a 14-11 win in the final game of the season to earn home field advantage in the first round playoff game. The teams were an interesting contrast in styles.
While each had lost a one-goal game to powerhouse McGill early in the season, the scores of those games reflected the teams. Queen's lost to McGill 10-9, in line with the low-scoring games they tended to be involved in. The Gaels scored 106 goals this season, fewer than any CUFLA East team other than 0-10 Carleton. They also allowed the third-fewest goals with 96, fewer than anyone but 9-1 Trent and McGill.
Goals were much more plentiful in games involving Nipissing, who fell 13-12 to McGill in their season opener. The Lakers' 133 goals for, led by league scoring champion Scott Dominey, were second-most in CUFLA East behind Trent's 155. With 127 goals against, though, Nipissing allowed more than anyone but Carleton.
The game was tight throughout but Nipissing eventually pulled away a bit thanks to multiple goals from five different players including Tanner Poole's big 4-goal, 2-assist effort. Kyle Aylesworth, Chris Boushy and Luca Dannetta each scored twice for Queen's.
The good news for Nipissing, of course, is that the Lakers continue to ascend with the first Baggataway Cup trip in the improving program's history, even with former division scoring champion Nick Chaykowsky now at Trent in teacher's college. The bad news is that there are reports that Dominey suffered an upper body injury that will preclude him from playing at the Baggataway Cup, although there is as of yet no confirmation.
Trent scored 14 goals against Ottawa for the third time this season, but the Gee-Gee's didn't go down easily in Peterborough. Ottawa battled back from a 10-4 half-time deficit to make a game of it. Fred Hartley's third goal of the fourth quarter and fourth of the game pulled Ottawa within two, 13-11, and the Gee-Gee's had over seven minutes to play plus all the momentum.
Then with about two and a half minutes to play, Trent's defence came up with a play to seal the deal. Ethan Schott, who may have been the best player on the field Saturday, stripped the ball and set up Cam Garlin for a goal that finally put Ottawa's impressive comeback bid on ice. The Excalibur were able to get possession and run the clock out to head to the Baggataway Cup as the CUFLA East first seed.
McGill handled icy weather, a 27-minute fire-alarm delay and the Bishop's Gaiters to win 10-3 and advance to the Baggataway, where they will play a Friday-night quarterfinal for the first time in nearly a decade. McGill's defenders scored as many goals as they allowed, with three Redmen long poles contributing goals to the cause.
In the lone CUFLA West game Saturday (Western had already downed Laurier Thursday night), Brock got as many goals from Connors as it allowed, riding hat tricks from Connor Ham and Connor Brown to a 13-6 win over the Guelph Gryphons.
Box scores and media coverage
Nipissing 13, Queen's 10
Trent 14, Ottawa 11
Peterborough Examiner game story
McGill 10, Bishop's 3
McGill Athletics game story
Bishop's Athletics game story
Brock 13, Guelph 6
Brock Athletics game story