Redmen take Baggataway Cup championship

Mtichell Drinkwater (29) of the Western (Ont.) Mustangs and McGill defender Hayden Nix (40) fight for a loss ball during Sunday's CUFLA championship game at Coulter Field.
By: 
Record Staff
Staff Writer

The McGill Redmen have regained the title of Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association champion after winning the 2015 Baggatway Cup on Sunday afternoon at Coulter Field. The Redmen secured the title by defeating the Western (Ont.) Mustangs 15-11 and put together an undefeated season winning 15 straight games.

The last time the Redmen and Mustangs met in the Baggatway Cup championship game was in 2012, when McGill emerged victorious winning 7-6 in double overtime. This was McGill’s fourth straight appearance in the championship game but their only previous cup came in that 2012 game.

This year, McGill dominated most of the game early and jumped out to an 8-1 lead by halftime. Their early defence was impressive, stopping the Western team that had scored 17 points in yesterday’s semifinal from developing offensive rhythm. The second half was more even. After a third quarter where each team added four goals, the Mustangs came on strong in the final 20 minutes, scoring six goals, but it was not enough to catch their Montreal rivals.

Anders Bjella, who was named the McGill player of the game, led the scoring for the Redmen with six goals. Ryan McCrory, Ryan Miles and Cody Ward each had a hat trick for the Mustangs.

The championship game capped off a five-game tournament that began on Friday night. In the first quarter-final matchup the hometown Gaiters took to the field against the two-time defending champion Guelph Gryphons.

The game was tied 4-4 after three quarters of play before the Bishop’s went ahead midway through the fourth. Guelph equalized the score with 15 seconds left but the Gaiters stormed back netting the winning goal with five seconds remaining to win 6-5. James Malloy, Simon Winquist and Taren Cook each scored twice for Bishop’s.

The second quarterfinal between the Brock Badgers and the Trent Excalibur brought excitement of a different kind. The game was 5-4 in Trent’s favour when early the second half, a tree falling on a power line caused a power outage in Lennoxville and forced the suspension of the game until Saturday morning.

When the teams retook the field, a fierce battle ensued with Brock finally securing their semi-final berth 10-9 in sudden-victory overtime. Brock scored three goals in the first five minutes of the resumed game and with 1:40 left they secured a 9-7 lead but two quick goals from Trent evened up the score 9-9. The first two four-minute overtime periods were scoreless but two minutes into in the sudden-victory overtime period, Brock’s David Neal finally fired the game winning shot.

The Badgers took to the field seven hours later against the McGill Redmen looking for their spot in the final. McGill won this hard-fought game 7-5, ending Brock’s run.

In the earlier semi-final, Western secured their place in the final defeating the Gaiters 17-12. The West Division champions proved too much for the Gaiters in an action-packed game in front of a loud home crowd. Western jumped out to a 6-2 lead, before a flurry of goals at the end of the second quarter put the teams even 7-7 at the half. However, a 6-1 third period made the difference, securing Western’s place in the final. Mason Austen, James Malloy and Ryan Dewar each had hat tricks to lead the Gaiters, while Cody Ward and Ryan McCrory lead Western’s scoring with six and five goals, respectively.

The finish is an improvement over the last three years, when the Gaiters qualified for the tournament but lost in the quarterfinal round.

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