ends early with loss at Queen’s Cup
By Ian Denomme
“HA - NOW I’M THE KING OF THE HILL.” Players
from Western and the University of Toronto pile on during Friday
night’s Queen’s Cup entry game. Western fell
to Toronto 5-4 in the contest.
For the second straight year, the Western Mustangs’ men’s
hockey team’s season ended much earlier than they wanted.
A heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the underdog Toronto Varsity Blues
ended Western’s quest for the Queen’s Cup and their
bid to return to nationals.
“We didn’t play that well, and Toronto did play well,” said
Western coach Clarke Singer. “They deserved to win.”
Despite not playing their best game, Western managed to keep the
game close and with less than a minute remaining in the third period,
were tied at four and looked destined to go to overtime for the
second straight week.
That was until a scramble ensued in front of Western goaltender
Mike D’Alessandro, and the puck managed to trickle by everyone
and into the net with only 31 seconds remaining. Western pulled
the goalie for an extra attacker but didn’t get a shot during
the remaining time.
“It sucks to lose like that,” said third-year assistant
captain Tom Brown, who is one of nine graduating players. “It’s
a tough way to end my career.”
Tyler Middlebrook scored a power play goal 10 minutes into the
first period to silence the crowd of 1,800 at Thompson Arena.
Middlebrook scored again just two minutes into the second period
to give Toronto a 2-0 lead. However, Western finally got on the
scoreboard on the power play when Jamie Sokolsky’s shot from
the point beat Ryan Grinnell. Western tied it before the end of
the period on a goal by Justin Davis.
There were four goals scored in just over two minutes into the
third as the teams battled back and forth.
Ian Malcolm scored shorthanded for Toronto on a breakaway, but
Tim Zafiris tied it again with a goal on the same power play. Middlebrook
completed his hat trick less than a minute later. Thirty-six seconds
after that, Chris Eade scored to make it 4-4.
It remained tied until the 19:29 mark of the third when Tristan
Senior scored the game-winning goal that ended Western’s
“It’s a great feeling,” said Toronto coach Darren
Lowe. “We got the bounces tonight. We played so many one-goal
games this year, and [tonight] fate turned our way.”
The moods in the two dressing rooms were obviously very different.
“Shock’s not the right word — we’re more
disappointed,” Singer said. “This team didn’t
reach its potential.”
“We expected to win,” Zafiris — also a graduating
player — said. “But we didn’t do all the little
things that we needed to.”
The nine graduating players on the team represent a large percentage
of Western’s offense, as well as some of their top defensemen.
Joining Brown and Zafiris on the list of players not returning
next year are team captain and all-time leading scorer Davis, Jeff
Martin, Chris Haskett, Abe Herbst, Sokolsky, Brad Yeo and goaltender
“They are all great hockey players and great people,” Singer
said. I’m going to miss all those guys.”
“I couldn’t ask for a better year, [but] it’s
just not the way I wanted to end it,” Brown said.
“[Western] put the fun back in hockey,” Zafiris added. “I
have no regrets. It was the best time of my life. There are some
wild boys on this team and I’m going to look back with nothing
but fond memories.”