Mustangs Lose Marathon Game #3
Western Mustangs Men's HockeyGreg Bowman
The Western Mustangs men’s hockey team’s hard-fought series against the Guelph Gryphons in the OUA West Final came down to sudden-death overtime on Sunday evening to decide who will join the Queen’s Gaels in the provincial championship game.
24 hours prior, the Mustangs got trounced 6-1 in Guelph to force Game #3 of the series. The consensus amongst the team was that it was a poor effort, and that the start in Game #3 needed to be better.
In Game #2, the Mustangs were only able to muster six shots on goal through the first two periods of play. They would eclipse that total in the opening 20 minutes, firing seven shots onto Andrew Masters’s net, but the Kitchener-native stopped them all. Guelph would open the scoring late in the first period with a powerplay goal from Scott Simmonds to give his team a 1-0 lead after 20.
The second period saw the Mustangs offence come alive. First, Rylan Bechtel would score on a powerplay for the Mustangs with a feed from Spenser Cobbold in the opening three minutes of the middle frame. Cordell James would follow that up just over two minutes later, receiving a nice dish from Kyle Langdon behind the Guelph defence then firing it past Masters to give the Mustangs their first lead since Game #1. Western headed into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Early into the third period, Jesse Saban scored for the Gryphons to knot the game up at 2-2. Just 33 seconds later, former captain of Team Denmark’s junior team, Mikkel Aagaard, scored his seventh goal of the playoffs to knot the game up at 2-2. 33 seconds later. Aagaard joined the team with 10 games left in the regular season after playing in both the AHL and ECHL last year. Suddenly, the Mustangs not only lost their lead, they were tasked to play catch-up.
It would take until the 18:20 mark of the third period, but Stephen Desrocher would tie it up yet again with his second goal, and sixth point of the playoffs to send the game into sudden death overtime.
The Mustangs had won their only overtime game of the playoffs back in the first round against Laurier, while the Gryphons split their two overtime games they had previously played. Period #4 of the game was neck-and-neck, with both teams weary of the implications. Both squads directed seven shots on the net, but another 20 minutes passed without a winner.
In the final seven minutes of the second overtime session, Mikkel Aagaard would snipe his second goal of the game, ending the marathon, and sending Guelph to the Queen’s Cup final and guaranteeing them a spot at the National Championship tournament. Aagaard now has eight goals and eight assists in eight playoff games with the Gryphons after recording a single assist in four regular season games.
The Mustangs will now have to play for the OUA Bronze medal in Ottawa against the Carleton Ravens, with the winner entering the National Championship as the wild card. The Bronze Medal Game will be played on March 8th at 7pm.