by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
The list of awards the Windsor Lancer’s hockey team received after finishing the regular season in first place was almost as long as the list of graduating players they honored prior to their game against the Brock Badgers.
Eight members of the men’s hockey team enjoyed their graduation night at South Windsor Arena Feb. 7 before Windsor won an offensive-filled contest against the Badgers, which ended in favour of the Lancers 9-6 to finish the regular season with a 22-4-1 record.
“It was kind of a strange game, I saw some strange goals tonight that I haven’t seen all year long,” said Lancer head coach Kevin Hamlin. “But we know that’s not going to be the case in the playoffs. In any event, we’re moving on and we’ll see what happens.”
Both teams were firing early, with four goals scored in the first 10 minutes. After Dylan Denomme scored the opening goal, Spencer Pommells scored one minute later to put Windsor up 2-0. Brock answer back with a power play goal before Pommells would respond for his second goal of the period as he executed a toe-drag deke around a defenseman before firing the puck past Badgers goaltender, Clint Windsor. Both teams would score a goal before the final 20 minutes finished and the Lancers led 4-2.
Each team would score three goals in the second period, including a Lancer tally from Isak Quakenbush, one of the six graduating players who registered a point in their final regular season home game at South Windsor Arena. The second period ended 7-5 and Windsor closed out the third period and the regular season with a 9-6 win.
Normally an enforcer, Quakenbush said it was nice to get a goal in front of the home fans while still playing his role within the team.
“I’m just out there trying to grind it out and make sure guys are safe, that’s my job,” said Quakenbush. “Thankfully tonight we got passed them and hopefully we can get rid of these guys in the first round. We’re experienced to know that anyone can win on any given night, so we’ll have to bring our best.”
After the contest, Windsor celebrated clinching the best overall record in the OUA at 22-4-1. On top of that, four members of the Lancers were recognized for their individual achievements at the end of the regular season.
Pommells captured the CIS scoring title with 50 points in 27 games. Pommells led the nation in assists with 34 and is the first Windsor player to win the CIS individual scoring title since Jordie Preston in the 2006-2007 season.
Fifth year goaltender Parker Van Buskirk, who stopped 28 shots in the win against Brock, finished his final season with the Lancers with 18 wins. Van Buskirk is now the program’s all-time leader in games won with 64 regular season victories.
Van Buskirk admitted knowing it is his final year with the Lancers makes it more enticing to make a deep playoff run this season.
“Knowing it’s your last run, you want to make sure you leave on a good note,” said Van Buskirk. “Last year was exciting and teams are going to be gunning for us. I’m really excited to get back at it.”
Second year defenseman Kenny Bradford led all rearguards in scoring this season with 28 points in 27 games played. Bradford was key to the success of Windsor’s power play this season, scoring six of his eight goals on the man-advantage. Rounding out the individual accolades was Lancer rookie Denomme, who finished his first season in the CIS as top scoring among fellow first-year players. Denomme scored 13 goals and had 18 assists for 31 points in 27 games for Windsor this season and led the country in game-winning goals with six.
Hamlin, in his seventh season with the Lancers, said it was nice as a head coach to see so many players graduating out of the program, achieving what they have with each other.
“To see them flourish, on the ice, off the ice and to see them graduate is gratifying for me,” said Hamlin. “When they leave here and become productive men, I couldn’t be more proud of my guys.”
The Lancers will begin the defense of their Queen’s Cup title this week. The Lancers will face the eighth-seeded Brock Badgers in the first round with Game two at South Windsor Arena Feb. 14. Game three, if necessary, would also be in Windsor Feb. 15 at 7:30pm.