OTTAWA, Ont. - For the 32nd time – and second in a row – the Toronto Varsity Blues are 2017 Men’s OUA Water Polo champions, having defeated fellow powerhouse Carleton Ravens 5-3 on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Hall. The Queen’s Gaels downed the Western Mustangs in the third-place game to take home bronze.
Queen’s 8, Western 3
Bronze Medal Game
The Gaels controlled the Mustangs in a tightly contested battle en route to a 8-3 OUA bronze medal match win. Alexander Cox-Twardowski contributed three goals to power the Queen’s offence.
Queen’s got off to a quality start, taking a 5-2 lead into the half. Goaltender Trevor Robinson played a crucial role in keeper Western at bay with multiple nice stops early in the game. Western got back on the board in the third but Queen’s sealed the win with three fourth-period marks, taking the bronze 8-3.
Toronto 5, Carleton 3
Gold Medal Game
Toronto and Carleton have won the previous 13 OUA banners coming into the championship game and the two teams met once again to decide who would lift the Hershorn Trophy in 2017. The last seven OUA Championships have flipped back-and-forth between Carleton and Toronto, with the Varsity Blues taking a 4-3 series edge after last year’s 7-0 win.
It was an electric atmosphere to start the game as the two benches cheered with excitement as their teammates made clutch plays in the pool. The Ravens emerged on top at the end of the first period thanks to Chris Callard. Both defences were stellar preventing either from converting on additional opportunities.
The Ravens found the net again early in the second. Veteran Dusan Boskovic sniped a bullet from deep to energize the home crowd. Toronto immediately rebounded with two goals of their own to even the score, before adding two more late from Stefan Mitic and Sukhmun Hare to take a 4-2 lead.
Both teams played strong defensively in the third to limit each other to one goal a piece and Toronto held its two goal lead with one period left.
The final period was much of the same back-and-forth play in the pool. The Varsity Blues’ two-goal lead proved to be insurmountable as the top-seeded team outlasted the Ravens 5-3 and captured the OUA gold medal.
Toronto’s Hare led his team’s offence with two goals in the winning effort, while Carleton’s Callard contributed two as well. Both goalies – Emirhan Ozdemir (Toronto) and Yorek Hurrelmann (Carleton) – made tremendous saves throughout the game, contributing to the tight score.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys and the way they played. It’s another successful season for us,” said Ravens head coach Zoltan Csepregi. “We’ve built a solid program and we always aim to compete for the championship, unfortunately, we fell short again this year.”
The Varsity Blues captured their 32nd OUA banner and second in as many years with the 5-3 win. “We came here, did what we prepared for – the exact same thing we’ve been doing the entire season – and it worked for us, so I’m very happy about that,” said head coach Tuna Tali.
Toronto will look to push their championship streak to three next season. “You’ve got to keep working hard and do what we do best,” said Tali. “We need to work harder and harder every year to keep it going like this.”
Most Valuable Player – Dusan Boskovic, Carleton
Most Valuable Goalie – Trevor Robinson, Queen’s
Coach of the Year – Zoltan Csepregi, Carleton
Victor Brancus, Western
Alex Cox-Twardowski, Queen’s
Julien Allard, Carleton
Yorek Hurrelmann, Carleton
Sukhmun Hare, Toronto
Milos Radojcic, Toronto
Euan Scofield, Toronto