Volume 95, Issue 83

Tuesday, March 12, 2002
 
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SPORTS

Western 'Peaks' some interest

UQTR defends Queen's Cup title

UQTR defends Queen's Cup title

Mustangs left muttering "c'est la vie"



By Benjamin Mills
Gazette Staff


Don't try telling the Western men's hockey team the third time is always a charm.

Emotions ran high on Sunday, as the Mustangs took on the three-time defending Ontario University Athletics Champions, Université du Québec ˆ Trois-Rivires Patriotes in the Queen's Cup final.

This was the third straight OUA final in which these teams have met and for the third consecutive year, UQTR handed the Mustangs a devastating one goal loss. This time it came by a 5-4 count, sending the raucous Thompson Arena crowd home disappointed.

"The experience of our players was a deciding factor for our win against Western," said UQTR head coach Jacques Laporte.

UQTR is a team known for their playoff prowess – they have made the playoffs every year since 1988. They have won the Queen's Cup four years in a row and are looking to defend the National title they won last year.

"At one point in the regular season, we lost 6 of 7 games, but once the playoffs roll around, we step up our level of emotion and play," Laporte said.

Western head coach Clarke Singer said the Queen's Cup final provided a highly charged atmosphere. "Emotions run high in big games, especially in the playoffs," Singer said.

Indeed they did, as a total of 10 penalties were called in the first period alone – illustrating the rivalry between these two teams.

"[UQTR's] a big rival of ours and they realized that we were the team standing between them and a chance to defend their title," Singer added.

It was a back and forth battle for the entire game with both teams exchanging the lead several times. Western laid the pressure on in the third period, but UQTR managed to hold onto their one goal margin for the last 12 minutes of the game.

The player of the game for the Western side was Defenseman Kelly Paddon, who said UQTR plays a chippy style of game, but it was a few lucky breaks in the end that allowed them to win the game.

"We had some tough luck, but we'll have to come back and beat them in the nationals," Paddon said.
 
Not all is lost for the Mustangs, as they still receive a berth in the University Cup – second-best makes the cut. This loss against UQTR acts as a reality check for the team – illustrating that regular season dominance means nothing come playoff time.

Emotions may have run high during the game, but afterwards it was a sombre atmosphere in the dressing room, both because of their defeat on the ice and the lingering affects of the loss of equipment manager Lorne Thompson, who passed away on Mar. 2.

Mustang right winger Tim Zafiris said after the season, the team will get more of a chance to reflect on the loss of Thompson. "Things are moving quickly now and that's the way [Thompson] would have wanted it," added Zafiris.

The Mustangs will now have to pull up their knickers and go back to the drawing board in order to prepare for the upcoming University Cup to be held in Kitchener/Waterloo on Mar. 21-24. This is the third straight year the Mustangs have qualified for the CIS Championships. This time around they will be hoping to reverse the results of the last two years when the team's performance has left something to be desired.


Dave Van Dyck/Gazette

HOCKEY HAS LONG PROMOTED THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF VIOLENCE. For the third year in a row, Chris Haskett and his Mustang mates were overthrown in the Queen's Cup final by UQRT. This is the fourth straight OUA title for UQRT.

The competition will be as tough as ever when the puck drops with Saskatchewan, Alberta, St. Mary's, Guelph and, of course, UQTR slated to compete with Western for the big prize.


To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 2002