Six months ago, they were too young to be a threat. Five months ago, their record had them barely making the playoffs. Last month, they looked like fodder for the OUA West regular season champion. Yesterday, they were virtual locks for elimination. And today, when they fell behind to the UNB Varsity Reds, they were overmatched. In the end, the Mustangs’ storybook season came to a heartbreaking end.
None of this stopped the Western Mustangs from charging toward the national finals in Thunder Bay. After losing game one of the championship 4-3 to McGill, the Mustangs needed to beat Saint Mary’s by 3 on Saturday. Not only did they do that, they won by 5. That led us to this afternoon’s University Cup finals.
It was guaranteed to be a close and hard fought affair. The UNB Varsity Reds were the best team in the country at the end of the regular season while the Western Mustangs were the hottest team in the country since the start of 2009. The Reds were led by outstanding goaltending and a high-powered offense while the Mustangs had amazing goaltending of their own supplemented by a stifling defence.
The day started poorly for the ‘Stangs. UNB came out of the gate flying and were up by two early in the second off goals by Lachlan MacIntosh and John Scott Dickson. The Mustangs clawed right back, though. Patrick Ouellet scored midway through the second and Kevin Baker tied it up early in the third and it looked like the Mustangs “Cinderella” run would continue all the way to a title.
The Reds wouldn’t stay down. MacIntosh notched his second with less than ten minutes to go by firing a shot five-hole on Topping. He fired home an easy empty-netter with less than a minute to go to seal the deal. The UNB Varsity Reds won their third national title, and second in three years, with a 4-2 win over the Western Mustangs. For his five goal effort in the tournament, including today’s hat trick, Lachlan MacIntosh was named tournament MVP.
The Mustangs may have come up short but they were the story of the season in the CIS. They were persistent and resilient to the last. Never saying die until the final horn sounded. Playing that sort of game was what got the Mustangs out of the OUA Far West basement, to an OUA championship and past Saint Mary’s into the final.
UNB – Lachlan MacIntosh (Unassisted), 18:58, 1st
UNB – John Scott Dickson (Bowman, Harty), 1:02, 2nd
UWO – Patrick Ouellet (McCann), 8:57, 3rd
UWO – Kevin Baker (Martens, Furlong), 1:13, 3rd
UNB – Lachlan MacIntosh (2) (Bailey, Friesen), 10:24, 3rd
UNB – Lachlan MacIntosh (3) (Bailey), 19:14, 3rd [EN]
Players of the Game:
UNB – Lachlan MacIntosh (3 goals)
UWO – Joe McCann (1 assist)
Tournament All-Star Team:
Goaltender: Travis Fullerton (UNB)
Defensemen: Dustin Friesen (UNB), Chris Petrow (UWO)
Forwards: Lachlan MacIntosh (UNB), Kyle Bailey (UNB), Joe McCann (UWO)
Click here to read and replay our CIS Hockey Championship Final Live Blog from earlier today.
The Lowdown’s CIS Hockey Championship Coverage:
March 25th: Preview
March 27th: Update
March 28th: Update
March 29th: Update
March 29th: Live Blog
March 29th: Finals Recap