FREDERICTON, N.B. (ISN) – Julian Cimadamore scored after four minutes and 21 seconds of overtime to lift the Western Mustangs to a 3-2 win over the UQTR Patriotes in the fourth game of the 50th CIS men’s hockey championship, Friday night, in front of a capacity crowd 3,750 at the University of New Brunswick’s Aitken Centre.
Cavendish Farms University Cup website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mice/index
The victory propels the fifth-seeded Mustangs (1-0) to a winner-take-all match-up with reigning national champion and tournament host UNB (1-0) Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Atlantic in the Pool A finale. The contest will air live on Sportsnet (except Sportsnet West) and will also be live on the web at ssncanada.ca.
The six-ranked Patriotes return home from the Cavendish Farms University Cup tourney with an 0-2 record. The OUA bronze medallists lost 6-1 to UNB on Thursday.
Cimadamore, a sophomore centre from Concord, Ont., put an end to a spectacular goaltender duel with a perfect shot that beat freshman Guillaume Nadeau low on the glove side. The OT hero took a pass from Steve Reese at the UQTR blue line and let a wrister go as he reached the left face-off circle.
Cimadamore almost ended the game with four minutes to go in regulation when he hit the right post.
“I got the puck from ‘Reesor’, literally saw a lane to the net, had a clear shot to take and ripped it as hard as I could,” said Cimadamore, who also had a game-winner in regulation against Calgary during last year’ CIS championship.
“It’s hard. It was a three-on-two. He beat me with a good shot. What can I say, it’s always tough to lose in overtime,” said Nadeau, a rookie from St-Jean-Chrysostome, Que.
Both goalies were named player of the game for their respective team. Nadeau was saddled with the loss despite a 30-save effort, while Western’s Josh Unice, who hails from Holland, Ohio, turned aside 41 pucks to earn the victory.
Both made numerous game-changing saves. Unice was especially spectacular in the opening period, which ended 1-1 despite Western being outshot 22-9.
“I don’t really rate my performances but that was definitely one of my better games, especially considering the level of competition here,” said Unice. “We didn’t play our best in the first period because we hadn’t played in a while and I did everything I could to keep us in it. We got better and better as the game wore on and the team played great in front of me. The guys sacrificed themselves, blocked some shots did all the little things right. It’s a good feeling to win our first game of the tournament, that’s for sure.”
“Coaches are never happy with (allowing that many shots) but… by our stats they had 12 of their shots on that four-minute power-play,” said Western head coach Clarke Singer, explaining the lopsided 22-9 shot tally in the first stanza. “It’s not the shots that matter… but the real critical thing is the amount of scoring chances that you allow.”
Keaton Turkiewicz, the CIS scoring champion from Brantford, Ont., and Reese of Dorchester, Ont., also scored for OUA finalist Western. Reese and Cimadamore both added an assist to finish with two points.
A pair of rookies, Billy Lacasse of Mont-Laurier, Que., and Félix Lefrançois of Baie-Comeau, Que., responded for UQTR.
Both teams went 1-for-5 on the power play.
Jacques Laporte, who has led UQTR to a pair of University Cup title in 13 seasons at the helm, was proud of the way his squad rebounded following Thursday’s lopsided loss to UNB.
“I’m really proud of the guys. It’s the sign of a team with great character. We definitely played well enough to win. I tip my hat to Western. It was a great hockey game between two very good teams.”
Western opened the scoring during a power play 2:09 into the contest thanks to their top line of Turkiewicz, Kevin Baker and Zach Harnden, the CIS rookie of the year. Turkiewicz, who tallied 20 goals and 47 points in 28 regular season games, received a pass in the high slot, skated in and left no chance to Nadeau with a quick shot on the glove side.
It was pretty much all UQTR for the remainder of the first period however, as the Patriotes finished the initial stanza with a 22-9 advantage in shots. If it hadn’t been for Unice’s brilliant play, the Pats could have retreated to the locker room up three or four goals.
Lacasse did manage to tie it at 1-1 at 10:20 when he beat Unice on a wrap-around.
UQTR resumed its domination in the early parts of the middle frame but once again, Unice was spectacular. The junior netminder made his best save during a penalty kill with seven minutes left when he extended the right pad to stop an Olivier Ouellet one-timer.
The Patriotes finally put another one past Unice 30 seconds later however, at 13:25, when Lefrançois completed a pretty three-way passing play with Jeff Desjardins and defenceman Pierre-Luc Lessard.
The momentum switch in the last five minutes of the period and Western tied it at two all at 16:41 when Reese deflected a blast from the point by Matt Ashman.
The Mustangs almost took the lead before the intermission but Adam Mckee was stoned by Nadeau on a breakaway with two minutes remaining.
In the third period, Western hit back-to-back posts on the same sequence with four minutes left on the clock. A Ashman point shot was deflected on the cross bar and, seconds later, Cimadamore hit the right iron.
GAME NOTES: It was the first contest between the Western and UQTR at the University Cup since the 2002 final, when the Mustangs prevailed 4-3 in triple overtime to end the longest game in CIS men’s hockey championship history… UNB blanked Western 4-0 a year ago in pool play en route to winning the national title.