Men’s hockey team out to clinch division title

A win over the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks on Saturday night would clinch the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Mid West Division for the York Lions men’s hockey team, giving the squad its first division title since 2004-2005 and guaranteeing it a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm at Canlan Ice Sports.

Left: The York Lions men’s hockey team celebrates after a recent win. The team is looking to clinch the OUA Mid West Division title on Saturday night.

The 13-10-3 Lions currently hold down top spot in the division with 29 points, three more than the University of Guelph Gryphons, while the Ridgebacks have posted a 5-16-3 record in only their second season in the league.

The Lions are 1-1 against the Ridgebacks this season. They dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to UOIT early in the year in Oshawa, but exacted revenge just last week when they won 4-3 in an overtime thriller. In that game, the Lions clawed their way out of a 3-1 hole in the third period. Rookie Scott Restoule gave his team life as he made it a 3-2 game off a nifty pass from Nathaniel Brooks with less than eight minutes left on the clock. The two connected again just two minutes later when Brooks put a shot on net and Restoule fired in the rebound to tie the game. The Lions then completed the comeback just 46 seconds into overtime when Jeff Matheson scored his second game-winner in three contests.

Even with a loss, the Lions can still clinch the division with a win in their final regular-season game on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 7pm against the Brock University Badgers.

In other action this weekend, the Lions men’s and women’s basketball teams will be back on home court for games against the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins on Friday, Feb. 6 at 6 and 8pm, and the Queen’s University Gaels on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 6 and 8pm.

The women’s team is 4-14 on the season and currently six points out of the sixth and final playoff spot in the OUA East division. Earlier this year, the Lions recorded wins over both RMC and Queen’s and will be looking for similar results this time around. The Lions began 2009 by defeating the Gaels 55-52 and then dominated the Paladins in a 68-49 victory.

Meanwhile, the men are 1-1 against the Kingston-area teams this year. The Lions got edged out by the Gaels in a 78-62 decision but then bounced back in the second game to crush the Paladins 98-27, their most lopsided win of the season.

Rounding out home competition this weekend is the track and field team, which is hosting the York Classic – Red & White at the Toronto Track & Field Centre on Saturday. The men are coming off a big win at the McGill University Team Challenge last weekend in Montreal while the women finished seventh at the same meet. Overall, the Lions collected 14 medals in the two-day event, including five gold medals.