Men’s hockey Lions debut at home on Sunday

After a three-game road trip to start the season, the York University Lions men’s hockey team will play its home opener at Canlan Ice Sports on Sunday, Oct. 18, against the visiting University of Windsor Lancers. Puck drop is scheduled for 2pm.

The Lions recorded eight of last year’s 14 regular season victories on home ice and also won the York Invitational tournament at Canlan. They will be looking for similar results in this weekend’s opener as they try to turn around a slow start to the season.

Left: York Lions player Nathaniel Brooks in a 4-3 win over Ryerson at the York Invitational. Photo by Alex Pylyshyn.

Both the Lions and Lancers opened the 2009-2010 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) campaign with a pair of losses. The Lions fell to the No. 10-nationally ranked Lakehead University Thunderwolves in two games in Thunder Bay last weekend and will face another tough challenge in the No. 6 University of Western Ontario Mustangs on Friday night before hitting home ice. Meanwhile, the Lancers began at home and lost to the Brock University Badgers and No. 9 University of Waterloo Warriors.

Last year, York and Windsor split the season series with one win each in two games at Canlan. The Lions dropped the first one 3-0 but came out the next day with a big performance to defeat the Lancers 6-1. Adam Ross, Cassidy Preston and Brett Short all had multi-point efforts in the win, while Matt McCready had two goals in Windsor’s win. Windsor goaltender Jim Watt got the shutout with a stellar performance in net that included stopping 44 shots.

There are plenty of dynamic players on this year’s squad who are sure to thrill fans and help the Lions win games. Captain Tyler Harrison, last year’s team MVP Jesse Grespan and Nathaniel Brooks are all point-per-game players who are exciting to watch and defenceman Kyle Searle will lead the way on the back end. Rookie Jesse Messier was a highly touted prospect with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors and will be counted on to make an impact. And JK Gill had an impressive first weekend as a Lion, scoring two goals against Lakehead for his first OUA points.

In other previous action on home ice this season, the Lions hosted the annual York Invitational tournament and welcomed the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, Ryerson University Rams and the new Nipissing University Lakers to Canlan in an exhibition event. York defeated Ryerson 4-3 in the first game to get to the final but was upended by the Lakers in the championship game by an 8-4 score.

Following the contest against Windsor the Lions will play six of their next seven games at home against teams from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Waterloo, Queen’s University and the Royal Military College with a game on the road in Guelph sandwiched in between.

For a full schedule and results, click here.