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Mustangs win in triple overtime
By Benjamin Mills
KITCHENER, ON. Revenge is sweet, but winning a national championship is a hell of a lot sweeter.
All questions regarding the Western men's hockey team's ability to win big games were put to rest here Sunday afternoon, when the Mustangs defeated the Université du
Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes the team that defeated Western in the Queen's Cup by a score of 4-3 in triple overtime.
Stacey Britstone, a first-year forward from Toronto, played the part of hero for the Mustangs. He put away the golden goal at the 13:17 mark of the third overtime period ending UQTR's reign as both national champions and Mustang killers.
"I saw the rebound, put my head down and tried to make contact with [the puck]," Britstone said. "The next thing you know, it went in."
"It was a thrill," Britstone added. "The guys were jumping on me it was just a great feeling one that I may never experience again."
Mustang forward Joe Talbot said there was no comparing this victory with the Ontario Hockey League Championship he won as an Ottawa 67.
"This was a lot harder. The OHL Championships took a long time, but this was do or die every night, so you are forced to come out and play every night," he said.
Western may not have admitted it before or afterwards, but this victory was sweetened by the taste of revenge the Patriotes defeated the Mustangs two weeks ago in London to take the Queen's Cup Championship.
"I think the Queen's Cup was probably motivation [for the Mustangs]," UQTR head coach Jacques Laporte said.
But Western head coach Clarke Singer saw it differently. "We weren't trying to get even we were trying to win a national championship," he said.
UQTR forward Jean-Phillippé Pare raised the collective heart rates of Mustang fans on several occasions, creating numerous scoring opportunities in overtime.
Fortunately, Mustang goalie Mike D'Alessandro was on his game and shut down Pare and the potent Patriotes offence time and again.
"Both goaltenders played outstanding," Laporte said. "They made the difference in the game."
For his Patrick Roy-esque clutch play, D'Alessandro was named tournament MVP.
This game will go down as the longest University Cup final in the tournament's history.
It was a back-and-forth battle for 113 minutes of hockey, but, in the end, the Mustangs capped the perfect end to the season, capturing Western's first ever University Cup title.
"A bounce here or there and the game could have gone either way," Singer said.
Britstone echoed Singer's comments. "It was a strong 60 minutes of hockey. And once overtime rolled around, one lucky bounce would get it and fortunately we got it."
Singer was quick to note that no individual player can be credited for the victory alone. "To win a national championship, you need a whole team of guys," he said.
On a night when Hollywood celebrated great moments in acting, the Patriotes were pleading for an Oscar nomination with their constant diving and exuberant celebrations.
"They were good at trying to get us off our game," Singer said.