U Sports MHKY Playoff Preview: UQTR vs. Queens

The OUA men’s hockey season has wrapped up and the playoff brackets have been set. 49 Sport will be previewing each matchup and will provide in-depth analysis to set up a very exciting postseason. Here is the preview for the series between Universitie de Quebec au Trois-Riviers (USTR) and Queen’s.

History

The last time these two teams met was back in November. They played a back-to-back series at Trois-Rivieres and the series was split. UQTR took the first game 5-2 and handed Queen’s their fifth-straight loss. The next game was very tight, and the Gaels managed to seal the deal in overtime with a 4-3 victory. UQTR used to have Queens’ number whenever the two teams would play. However in the last two years, the Gaels have answered and have won five of their last seven meetings.

Season recap

UQTR: UQTR had a dominant regular season and finished second in the Eastern Conference with a 24-3-1 record. The biggest reason for their success is goaltender Sebastien Auger, who played 23 games for the team and had incredible numbers in net. His .937 save percentage is third-best in the league and has a 2.22 goals against average.

Image result for queens vs uqtr mens hockey
UQTR have been to the U Cup before. They will try to do it again, their journey begins against the Gaels (Sportsnet)

Strong goaltending paired with offensive depth has been the recipe for success of UQTR. They finished the season with four players that recorded 10+ goals and averaged 3.46 goals per game (5th in the OUA). In addition to a strong offense, their defense was really strong as well and they had the OUA’s second-best penalty kill with an 89.5% success rate. UQTR is a very well-rounded team that is poised to make a lot of noise in the postseason.

Queen’s: The Queen’s Gaels are the reigning Queen’s Cup champions but have not had a strong regular season that is expected from a championship team. They barely made it to the playoffs with a 12-12-3 record and were unable to win more than two straight games. The team has just two players with 10+ goals and are dead-last in the OUA in goals per game (2.46).

(Queen’s Gaels Athletics)

Their goaltending is not much better as the two netminders have a combined .898 save percentage. So not only can this team not score, they can’t keep the puck out of their own net either. Queens’ penalty kill has a success rate of just 75.4% which could be a huge advantage for UQTR to exploit.

Key Players:

UQTR: Sebastien Auger

UQTR came this far with Auger, they can only go further if Auger can keep it up. If he can continue to be solid in net, it will make UQTR an unstoppable force because of their dynamic offense. Against a struggling offensive team like the Gaels, they have the chance to make quick work of them and earn some extra time to rest before the next round.

Queen’s: Jared Bethune

When facing a strong goaltender in the playoffs, you rely on your top scorers to get the job done. Jared Bethune leads Queen’s in scoring with 18 points (9G 9A) in 26 games. He has four multi-point games this season and established a new career-high in both goals and points. He finished the season on a very strong note with 3 points (1G 2A) in a 4-2 win over the RMC Paladins. Entering the postseason with a hot hand is very important and the Gaels will want Bethune at the peak of his confidence when the two teams match up.

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