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McGill stops Western for CIS men's hockey crown

McGill Redmen team captain Evan Vossen kisses the University Cup after his team beat the Western Mustangs to win the 2012 CIS men's ice hockey championship on Sunday, March 25, 2012 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. McGill won the game 4-3 in OT, with Vossen scoring the game winner. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Dembeck.

Mike Dembeck/CP

Evan Vossen ended his CIS men's hockey career in spectacular fashion.

The McGill captain scored in overtime as the Redmen won their first CIS men's hockey title in program history, beating the Western Mustangs 4-3 Sunday.

Vossen broke into the Western zone to the right of goaltender Josh Unice 6:00 into overtime. He fanned on his shot, but the puck slid through Unice's pads.

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"It's like a storybook ending," Vossen said. "I mean overtime, my last game, a national championship. It doesn't get any better than that and I'm very grateful for that."

Vossen said he was going to go high, but with Unice taking away the top half of the net he just wanted to put the puck on goal.

"He whiffed," Unice said. "He made a wicked play over the blue-line and we know they like to go three guys hard to the net. We didn't want to give up the two-on-one on the backside."

"I'm pretty sure he tried to go high with it and it tricked me and it went in."

McGill lost in the 2011 final 4-0 to the UNB Varsity Reds.

"McGill is one of the oldest hockey teams," said McGill forward Francis Verreault-Paul. "This is huge part of the history of the program in the future. I'm in my fourth year. In the first year we won no games, won one in my second, and lost in the final last year.

"We learned from mistakes and now we're champions."

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Alexandre Picard-Hooper assisted on the winner to break the all-time points record for the Redmen. He ended his career with 268 points in 175 games.

Verreault-Paul was named the tournament MVP. The trophy, named after former NHL supervisor of officials Major Danny McLeod, was presented by McLeod himself.

"I'm really proud of winning this, but you know I couldn't win this by myself," Verreault-Paul said. "I had a lot of good bounces this tournament that I was able to capitalize on and I'm really honoured to be named the MVP."

Benoit Levesque added a pair of goals for the Redmen, while Nicholas Biniek also scored. Hubert Morin stopped 19 of 22 shots.

Keaton Turkiewicz scored a pair of goals for the Mustangs, while Kevin Baker had the other Western goal. Unice made 38 saves.

"I just tried to do what I'm supposed to do and in the end there's a couple things I wish I could have done differently," Unice said. "I owe it to the team. We battled hard and never gave up all the way to the last second. We did a lot of things this year that no one thought we could have."

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McGill will lose eight or nine players from this championship, making it more difficult to repeat next year.

"It's going to be another fresh start for the program next year," Verreault-Paul said. "I won't be here, but after seeing this team win a national championship, the future is bright for the program."

Unice was named the goaltender of the tournament all-star team.

UNB's Jonathan Harty and McGill's Marc-Andre Dorion were named as defencemen.

Turkiewicz, Verreault-Paul and Picard-Hooper were named all-star forwards.

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