Just two Ontario University Athletics games are on the home schedule this weekend as most of the interuniversity teams in action are competing on the road. The men’s hockey team will kick things off on Thursday evening and the men’s volleyball team will be back on home court on Friday night.
The men’s hockey Lions will face the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks at Canlan Ice Sports beginning at 7pm on Thursday, and the men’s volleyball team has a game against crosstown rivals the University of Toronto Varsity Blues the following night at 8pm at the Tait McKenzie Centre.
Left: Lions’ leading scorer Tyler Harrison
The fourth-place Golden Hawks (14-6-2) sit just one spot ahead of the Lions (11-10-1) in the West division standings but have a seven-point lead. Beginning with the Lions in fifth, the rest of the division standings are ultra-tight, with only six points separating York from the ninth-place University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks. A win over Laurier would give the Lions a huge boost in the standings as they look to secure a playoff spot with only six games left on the regular-season schedule.
Thursday’s game is the third meeting between these two teams this season. The Golden Hawks escaped the first with a 5-4 overtime victory at Canlan and then recorded an easy 8-3 win over the Lions on their home ice in Waterloo. The contest promises to be an offensive thriller as the two teams have a combined five players among the league’s top 25 scorers. The Lions are led by team captain Tyler Harrison with 29 points while the Golden Hawks’ top scorer is Paul Bradley with 33.
The men’s hockey team also has a road game against the Ridgebacks on Saturday night.
The men’s volleyball team hasn’t played a regular-season home game since November and is hoping a return to the Tait McKenzie Centre will spark another win. The last time the Lions played at Tait they recorded a thrilling 3-2 victory over Laurier in their final game of the 31st annual Excalibur Volleyball Classic. Since then the team has gone 1-3, including a straight-sets victory over the Royal Military College Paladins and a narrow 3-2 loss to the Windsor Lancers.
In the previous meeting between these rivals this season, the Varsity Blues (6-7) recorded a 3-0 victory over the Lions (3-11). Toronto holds down the seventh and final playoff spot thanks to a game in hand over the 6-8 Golden Hawks. York is currently out of the playoff picture with six points, but a strong finish down the stretch can push the Lions into the top seven and earn them a berth in post-season play.
Tickets for all games are available at the door. York students are free with presentation of their YU-card. Adults can purchase tickets for $8 and students and seniors for $5. Children 12 and under are free.
The rest of the York Lions teams will be on the road this weekend. The basketball squads will be in Kingston for back-to-back doubleheaders against the Paladins and Queen’s University Gaels. The women’s volleyball team is making the trek to Thunder Bay for a pair of games against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves. The women’s hockey team has games against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs and the Windsor University Lancers, while the track & field team will head to Montreal for the McGill Team Challenge.
Submitted by Alyson Fisher, sport & recreation information officer with Sport York