There is a saying that two is company, but three is a crowd. Fortunately, that logic doesn’t apply to trophy cases, as the Redmen triumphantly defended their Queen’s Cup title against the Western Mustangs on Saturday. The victory marks a hat trick milestone for McGill as the Redmen are champions of three consecutive Cups, and four in the past five years.
McGill stormed out of the gate with an early goal courtesy of Andrew Wright to pull ahead 1-0. Team captain Evan Vossen had the lone assist. Within minutes, the Redmen padded their lead and shifted the momentum completely to their side as Benoit Levesque buried the eventual game winning marker. Christophe Longre-Poirier and Francis Verreault-Paul were credited with the primary and secondary assists, respectively.
The McGill Redmen were relentless throughout the rest of the period as both teams headed into the first intermission with McGill owning a 17 to eight advantage in the shots department.
The Mustangs cut the deficit down to one and managed to make things interesting when centreman Dominic DeSando beat Redmen netminder Hubert Morin just two minutes into the second. Western had a glorious opportunity to tie the game with their second power play opportunity of the evening when McGill forward Andrew Wright was called for interference. However, Morin stood tall in his crease and the penalty killing unit managed to shut down the opposition to preserve the lead.
Still in the second, the Mustangs would become their own Achilles’ heel as rightwing Keaton Turkiewicz was charged with a tripping penalty. A man down, Mustang Geoff Killing accidently deflected a shot by Verreault-Paul into his own net, re-establishing McGill’s two-goal lead in the process. Things went from bad to worse for Western as Furlong’s 10 minute misconduct penalty for a hit to the head thwarted any momentum the Mustangs had mustered following Verreault-Paul’s goal.
At 8:47 of the third, the McGill Redmen put the game on ice when Longre-Poirier buried the puck past Josh Unice, who was peppered with 37 shots in the evening. The scoring play was the result of some crisp passes from both Verreault-Paul and Marc-Olivier Vachon, who was rewarded with his first point of the match.
The animosity reached a tipping point near the end when 42 penalty minutes were handed out in the final minute and a half to both teams. McGill and Western each received two offsetting 10 minute misconduct penalties, but the Redmen would end the game on the power play with an extra roughing call going against the Mustangs’ lone scorer Dominic DeSando.
The player of the game was undoubtedly McGill’s own Francis Verreault-Paul, who was awarded the Jack Kennedy Trophy for his on-ice heroics. Verreault-Paul finished the game with a power play marker and two key assists for the Redmen.
The McGill Redmen can now look forward to the CIS Cavendish University Cup championship tournament in Fredericton, New Brunswick on March 22-25. The team hopes to avenge their loss in the finals last year to defending champion University of New Brunswick by bringing CIS hockey gold back. to McGill.