KINGSTON, Ont. - The No.5 Queen's Gaels fell 3-0 to the No.7 Western Mustangs who claimed their second McCaw Cup title in program history.
Both teams now advance to the U SPORTS national championship which the Mustangs host starting on Thursday.
The two rival programs started the game quickly out of the gate playing a fast-paced opening period. Queen's got their chances early in the frame including one from just to the left of Mustang goaltender Carmen Lassis but was denied by the Western netminder.
The Mustangs responded with a chance the other way on a three-on-two rush, but it was the OUA goaltender of the year Stephanie Pascal (Sudbury, Ont.) who stood tall for Queen's.
Western began to take control of the pace keeping the puck in the Gaels zone and peppering Pascal with shots. A two-on-one break for Shailyn Waites produced a shot to the blocker of Pascal that was turned aside.
Western went to the power play first in the game and were able to find the scoreboard. A point shot from Emma Pearson floated through a screened Pascal to find the back of the net. Megan Taylor added the lone assist at 10:56 putting the Mustangs ahead 1-0.
The Gaels finished out the period with a pair of power play opportunities themselves, but it was Carmen Lasis coming up big in close halting the Gaels on numerous attempts.
The Gaels found themselves back on the power play early in the second period as Western was called for tripping. A great toe-drag resulted in a shot from Jessica Wakefield (Lucan, Ont.) that whistled wide. The Gaels tried to score on a wrap-around, but Carmen Lasis quickly pushed against the far post for the save.
Western then went back to the power play on a pair of back-to-back opportunities but could not get any shots past Pascal.
After a Gaels turnover, the puck found its way to Alyssa Chiarello for a point-blank shot in front, but Pascal was able to corral the puck for the save.
With the final seconds ticking away on the second period the Mustangs were able to extend their lead. Chiarello got another chance and made a great individual effort kicking the puck up to her stick, and she was able to tuck it past Pascal with just 22 seconds left in the period.
The Gaels had another early power play in the third period but came away with nothing to show for it. Just after the advantage ended, the Gaels appeared to have scored after a Mustangs player deflected the puck into her own net but it was called off by the officials.
The Gaels pulled Pascal on multiple occasions, first with an abbreviated power play and then with just a few minutes remaining and Western's Amanda Pereira iced the win with an empty-net goal.
Western goaltender Carmen Lasis was named the game MVP after picking up the shutout stopping all 28 shots faced.
"We were expecting a good environment, and I think we got it, the energy in the building was awesome. Our girls were just ready from the start of the day today they showed really good energy and kept things positive and obviously got rewarded with a few goals." - Western head coach Kelly Paton
"I think we had a better third than the second, but it just wasn't enough. Bigger picture, I'm certainly happy with where we are. We've earned our spot at nationals, and we still feel confident in our room that we can make some noise next week." - Queen's head coach Matt Holmberg
BY THE NUMBERS
5 - Years ago these two teams met for the McCaw Cup, and it was the Gaels who swept the series in two games clinching at home
2nd - McCaw Cup title for Western
5 - Power play chances for Queen's
7 - Points for Chiarello in the playoffs to lead the OUA
Both Queen's and Western will now head to the U SPORTS national championship which the Mustangs are hosting in London, Ontario. The first quarter-final games go Thursday and Friday and can be seen live on USPORTS.live.
Source: Queen's Gaels