Redmen tame Mustangs, win Queen’s Cup for fourth time in five years

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LONDON, Ont. (ISN) – Francis Verreault-Paul scored once and added two helpers as No.2-ranked McGill skated to a 4-1 victory over the No.3 Western Mustangs to capture the 101st edition of the Queen’s Cup, emblematic of the OUA men’s hockey championship before 1,751 at Thompson Arena, Saturday.

It was McGill’s third consecutive Queen’s Cup title in as many years and the fourth in five seasons after a 62-year drought when they claimed the Cup in 1946. The Redmen have now won the trophy 17 times since it was first presented in 1903. Only Toronto has won more league titles with 41.

It was a dominant performance by the Redmen, who won the OUA East pennant and finished first of all 19 OUA squads with a 22-4-2 record. The Mustangs had finished atop the OUA West division with an equally impressive 21-4-3 record.

But McGill’s might and speed proved superior and they racked up a 37-26 advantage in shots, including a 17-8 margin in the opening period.

“We played great tonight,” said McGill team captain Evan Vossen, a fifth-year veteran from Swift Current, Sask. “We came out strong and played our type of game. We executed well, scored a couple of goals and that took a little energy out of their building. We were well prepared and I’m really happy that the guys all showed up to play tonight. There was a good feeling in the room before the game and there will even be a better feeling now.”

McGill led 2-0 after one period on goals by Andrew Wright of Toronto and Benoit Levesque of Vaudreuil, Que.

The Mustangs showed some signs of life in the second period when defenceman Dominic Desando of London, tallied at 2:04 but the wind was sucked violently out of their sails when Mustangs defenceman Geoff Killing corralled a high shot from Verreault-Paul and accidently batted the puck into his own net for a 3-1 McGill lead.

Verreault-Paul, a senior from Mashteuiatsh, Que., who led the league in goals for the third consecutive season, was named as the Harrow Sports player of the game which comes with the Jack Kennedy Trophy. He was credited with the goal, assisted on the game-winner and then drove the final nail in the coffin, setting up a third-period marker by Christophe Longpre-Poirier of Longueuil, Que., at 8:57.

Hubert Morin, an engineering senior from St. Georges de Beauce, Que., gave a solid performance between the pipes for McGill. The second-team all-star kicked aside 25 of 26 shots, improving his post-season record to 7-0 this year and 23-5 lifetime.

Josh Unice, a first-team all-star from Holland, Ohio, was beaten four times on 37 shots and took the loss.

“We were very good tonight, collectively,” said Kelly Nobes, who has guided the Redmen to consecutive Queen’s Cup titles in his two seasons as bench boss at McGill. “We wanted to have a good start and get the crowd out of it and that was about getting our feet moving right from the start, getting some pucks in deep and hoping to score a greasy goal. First shift, we had a great scoring chance and Frankie (Verreault-Paul) was robbed on the play, Then we scored two in the first 10 minutes, took the crowd out of the game and we were able to maintain that momentum throughout the game.”

Both McGill and Western had already qualified for the CIS Cavendish University Cup championship tourney in Fredericton, March 22-25, but the Redmen are expected to go in as the No.2 seed, as the OUA champion, giving them a preferential draw.

“It’s great to win that trophy,” added Nobes. “It’s over a hundred years old so it’s got a lot of tradition to it. But more importantly, for us is peaking at the right time and building momentum leading up to Fredericton. There are still somethings that we can do better but we’ll talk about that later. We’ll enjoy this victory for now.”

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