A bad start and faulty defence left the Western Mustangs in the dust as they lost 4-1 Saturday night. The Mustangs hosted the McGill Redmen in the 101st Ontario University Athletics Queen’s Cup in a rematch of last season’s finals.
“We knew they were skilled, and they moved the puck well and had a good power play. One of our game keys tonight was to start and take the crowd out of it and clearly with our first 10 minutes we were able to do that,” Kelly Nobes, Redmen coach, said.
The Redmen dominated the first period, scoring their first goal only two minutes into the frame. Redmen forward Evan Vossen took a shot at Western goalie Josh Unice, who made a diving attempt for the puck. Redmen forward Andrew Wright was ready on Unice’s left to tap the puck into the wide open net for the first point of the night.
“They took the puck to the net, I made a couple of saves, but couldn’t control my rebound and they put it in the empty net,” Unice said of the first goal.
Western tried hard to retaliate offensively, but only four minutes later the second goal of the game came for the Redmen, this time off the stick of forward Benoit Levesque. The Mustangs were off to a rocky start—something they had seen before in last years’ Queen’s Cup final against McGill, as they fell down by three goals early.
“I think everyone remembers the difficult start we had last year, and those two early goals just set the tone for the game just as those three early goals did last year. But good teams do that. Good teams get off to great starts and we obviously needed a lot better start than we had tonight,” Clark Singer, Mustangs coach, said of his team’s effort.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the second that Western finally got on the scoreboard. A rebound goal by Dominic Desando cut McGill’s lead in half, making it 2-1.
Later in the second, at the other end of the ice, the puck took a bad bounce off Mustang Geoff Killing’s glove as he tried to clear it from the net, and it found its way past Unice for McGill’s third of the night.
The Redmen were able to get to the back of the net again halfway through the third period, for a final score of 4-1. The Mustangs did not expect the game to turn out the way it did, and blamed the loss on poor execution.
“We came out hard and we wanted to get up and score so early that we were all committed to offence and they weathered the storm. We have to be better in the defensive zone, we have to commit to defence. We committed to defence against Windsor and came on top and won,” Unice said.
It was obvious to anyone watching, that the Redmen were on top of their game—and on top of the Mustangs. With the shot count standing at 37-26 in favour of McGill, red jerseys dominated Western’s end of the ice.
“We learned a valuable lesson tonight like we did last year. We can’t take things for granted. We can’t look at their roster and compare it to ours and say we’re better than them in a lot of aspects. Hard work and defence wins championships,” Unice commented.
While the quest for the Queen’s Cup ended at Thompson Arena, the Mustangs still have another tournament to look forward to. The Mustangs will head to New Brunswick in two weeks for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships.
“We’re fortunate that we don’t have to pack up our bags quite yet, we still have another couple weeks ahead of us and that gives us an opportunity to play for another trophy out at the national championships. Hopefully we can pick up the pace here the next couple of days and when we come back, be ready for Fredericton,” Singer said.
Both the Redmen and Mustangs will have to put the Queen’s Cup behind them when they hit the road to battle for the coveted Cavendish Cup. The CIS tournament for the Cavendish Cup will take place from March 22 to March 25 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.