Mustangs dethrone McGill for OUA hockey crown

The Western Mustangs captured their third Queen’s Cup in school history on Saturday evening, defeating the defending Ontario University Athletics champion McGill Redmen 2-1 in the OUA men’s hockey championship at Thompson Arena in London.

It is the first OUA championship for the Mustangs since the 2004-05 season. First-year right wing Keaton Turkiewicz (Brantford) scored the game-winner in the second period while adding an assist. Turkiewicz finishes the OUA post-season tied for the scoring lead on the Mustangs with 10 points in eight games.

Mustangs’ fourth-year goaltender Brad Topping (Strathroy) was named the Harrow Sports Canada Ltd. Player of the Game stopping 30 of the 31 shots he faced.

A costly too many men on the ice penalty put McGill at a disadvantage in the later stages of the first period. Western grabbed the lead for good as second-year defencemen Ryan Martinelli (London) opened the scoring with Turkiewicz and first-year centre Kevin Baker (Georgetown) earning assists. It was Martinelli’s second goal of the post-season. McGill outshot Western 11-10 in the period.

Midway through the second period, Turkiewicz netted the game-winner on an even strength goal, his second goal of the playoffs. First-year left wing Aaron Snow (Windsor) assisted on the play, keeping pace with Turkiewicz as the team post-season co-leader in points with 10.

Three minutes later, McGill got on the scoreboard when third-year defencemen Ben Gazdic (Toronto) finally solved Topping with his second of the playoffs. First-year right wing Francis Verreault-Paul (Mashteuiatsh, Que.) and third-year left wing Vincent Lambert (Ste. Therese, Que.) earned assists on the play. McGill once again outshot Western 9-8 during the period.

McGill made a desperate push in the final period, earning a pair of power play opportunities and playing the final 1:03 with six skaters, but Topping shut the door the rest of the way to secure a third Queen’s Cup for Western. The Redmen outshot the Mustangs 12-8 in the final period and 31-27 for the game.

Although he was held pointless in the Queen’s Cup, McGill first-year centre Alexandre Picard-Hooper (Boucherville, Que.) was the OUA’s leading scorer in the playoffs with 11 points, scoring five goals while helping out on six others.

The Mustangs capitalized on one power play in four chances, while McGill was stymied on all five of its chances. A total of 689 fans were on hand to watch the proceedings from Thompson Arena.

Western now has a 7-1 post-season record while McGill drops to 6-2. The Redmen and Mustangs will join the host Lakehead Thunderwolves at the 2009 Cavendish University Cup in Thunder Bay to determine the Canadian university men’s hockey champion. The tournament is from March 26 to 29.