March 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 85  

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The Queen’s Cup: OUA hockey

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

For the third consecutive year, the top teams in Ontario university hockey will do battle at Western for men’s hockey supremacy.

The Queen’s Cup, the Ontario University Athletics men’s hockey championship, starts tonight at Thompson Arena, where the Western Mustangs take on the Toronto Varsity Blues.

“The people of London are going to be treated to four great games,” said Western head coach Clarke Singer. “The quality of hockey is the best it’s been in 10 years.”

After last weekend’s overtime loss to the Lakehead Thunderwolves, the Mustangs earned a birth in the championship as the host, and will be looking to prove they belong.

Western finished the regular season atop the OUA Far West Division before falling to Lakehead. Despite their successful regular season, Singer says he is not completely satisfied yet.

“The most important thing is to be successful in the playoffs. We are happy with where we are now, but not happy with the result against Lakehead. We are fortunate to get another opportunity. It would have been devastating if it had ended our season,” he says.

The Blues come into the tournament as the lowest seed and won the Mid East Division despite having a below-.500 record. However, neither Western, nor Toronto, are concerned with the regular season.

In the only regular season meeting between the two teams, Toronto held a 7-3 lead after two periods only to see the Mustangs storm back for a 9-8 overtime win.

“It’s a different game and a different season,” says Toronto head coach Darren Lowe. “Hopefully we learned from it, but we won’t be thinking about it [tonight].”

Western is led by a number of OUA West All-Stars and has a strong mix of veteran players and rookies. Team captain Justin Davis and leading goal scorer Jeff Martin will be key factors for Western in the tournament, Singer explains.
Western has a strong defensive core, led by second team All-Star Abe Herbst, and in goal they will need the continued strong play of Mike D’Alessandro.

“When it comes down to this, you need your goalies to play well. I think the team with the best goalie will be the team that wins,” Singer says.

This year will also see a new champion crowned. Five-time defending champion Université du Québec à Trois-Rivière was eliminated by Ottawa in the Far East Divisional championship.

This marks the 102nd edition of the Queen’s Cup, though it has only been presented 93 times due to stoppages during the two World Wars. Western has been at the tournament 12 times, but won only in 1995.

Mike Shewan was a two time OUA All-Star and a member of the 1995 championship team, and says the win was the highlight of his five years at Western.

“It was great. We beat [the University of] Guelph in overtime that year and it was the first win ever for Western, so I take a lot of pride in that. Any time you win a championship it’s special,” he says.


Friday — Tournament Entry Game:
Western vs. Toronto,
Thompson Arena. 7:35 p.m..

Saturday — West Division Championship:
Lakehead vs. York.
Thomspon Arena, 4:05 p.m.;

East Division Championship:
Ottawa vs. Entry Game Winner,
Thompson Arena, 7:35 p.m..

Sunday — OUA Championship:
West Division Winner vs.
East Division Winner
Thompson Arena, 7:05 p.m..



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