Weekend wrap: Lions retire No. 18 jersey of Mark Cross in emotional ceremony prior to Mark Cross Memorial Game

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York U Lions

The York Lions honoured hockey alumnus Mark Cross on Saturday, Jan. 5 at Canlan Ice Sports prior to their evenly matched 4-3 loss to the Brock University Badgers in an emotional pre-game ceremony. Cross, who played with the Lions from 2011-16, was an assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos last season and lost his life in the team’s tragic bus crash on April 6, 2018.

After symbolically stopping the clock at 18 seconds, the Lions celebrated Cross’ life and legacy as a York Lion in a stirring pre-game ceremony that included the retiring of Cross’ No. 18 jersey.

On the ice to take part in the ceremony were Cross’ parents, Brad and Marilyn; his brother, Michael; his sister, Leah; his girlfriend, Molly; friends from his native Saskatchewan; and his former York teammates. Cross became the first member of the Lions men’s hockey program to have his number retired. More details on the York Lions website.

On Friday night, the men’s hockey team opened up their second half of the season with a thrilling 2-1 overtime win against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at Canlan Ice Sports.

After having been in York’s offensive end throughout most of the first five minutes of the game, U of T had a great scoring chance against the Lions; however, it was saved by York’s goaltender Mack Shields.

Following Shields’ save, the Lions skated the puck down to the Blues’ end with a passing play between Reid Jackman and Sal Filice, who passed the puck to Scott Feser, who scored the first goal for the Lions at 5:14. More details.

Lions defeat Lakers in first game of 2019

The York University men’s basketball team defeated the Nipissing University Lakers in their opening game of 2019 by a score of 73-64 on Friday evening at Robert J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre.

The Lions were off to a strong start picking up a big lead on the Lakers 16-5 midway through the first quarter. The Lions ended the quarter with a 22-16 lead.

The Lions continued to lead the Lakers at the start of the second quarter; however, the Lakers managed to close the large lead to just two-points with three minutes remaining in the half. The Lakers eventually tied the Lions 26-26, and after free throw the Lakers led the Lions for the first time 27-26. It was the Lakers who added one extra basket in the final minutes to lead 36-34 at the end of the half. More details.

The next night the Lions lost 111-80 on the road against the Laurentian University Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ont.

Prince Kamunga led the Lions in points throughout the game with 22 points on the night. In the first quarter of the game, the Lions were able to put in a total of 18 points to the Voyageurs’ 33. Lions guard Gene Spagnuolo contributed four of those points as he started the game well for the visiting team. By the end of the first half of the game, Laurentian was leading 55-36 against the Lions after outscoring them by four in the second quarter. More details.

Lions fall in Saturday night road game to Voyageurs

The York University women’s basketball team lost 64-46 against the Laurentian University Voyageurs during their second game of the weekend on Saturday, Jan. 5 in Sudbury, Ont.

The Voyageurs took the lead in the first quarter of the game and kept it throughout the remainder of the game.

Laurentian’s Kayla Deschatelets scored the first two points for the Voyageurs and picked up three more points in the first quarter to contribute to their 11 points in the first quarter. The Lions’ Alysha Pinck scored the first two points for York. More details.

A day prior, the Lions led the Nipissing University Lakers through three quarters until a push in the final minutes of the fourth quarter by the Lakers led them to a 65-61 victory on Friday evening at Robert J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre in North Bay, Ont.

The Lions came out strong in their first game of the new year and at the end of the first quarter, the Lions led the Lakers 18-12. They continued the momentum into the second quarter and managed to pick up a large, 11-point lead to end the half up 35-24. The Lions continued their lead into the third quarter, but the Lakers cut the lead close, trailing just two points by a score of 49-47 by the end of the quarter. More details.

Big third period by Badgers results in loss for Lions

The York University women’s hockey team was defeated on the road 6-3 by the Brock University Badgers on Saturday afternoon at Seymour Hannah Centre.

The Lions outplayed the Badgers in the first period and kept the game close until the last 10 minutes of the third period. The Badgers got on the scoreboard first at 9:49 of the first period with a shot by Niamh Haughey that slipped through the pads of Lions goaltender Eva Hall. After multiple attempts by the Lions to get on the scoreboard, Erin Locke scored the equalizer off a face-off with four minutes remaining in the first period. More details.

Mustangs claim 40th Excalibur Volleyball Classic

The University of Western Mustangs were crowned 2019 Excalibur Volleyball Classic champions on Sunday afternoon at the Tait McKenzie Centre in the 40th edition of the annual tournament. Western went a perfect 3-0 in the round robin tournament, the only team to go undefeated throughout the entire weekend.

The championship win was the fourth all-time at the tournament for the Mustangs, who also won previously in 2011, 2012 and 2015.

The Mustangs opened the tournament on Friday with a 3-1 win over the Nipissing Lakers (25-23, 19-25, 25-22 and 27-25) and followed that up with another 3-1 win over the host Lions on Saturday (25-22, 25-19, 23-25 and 25-14). They ended their tournament with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the Queen’s Gaels on Sunday afternoon (29-31, 25-23, 25-20 and 25-22). More details.