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April 10, 2018

HOMETOWN HEARTBREAK

Twenty years ago, the host of the CCAA National Hockey Championship earned a berth in the gold medal game only to lose in overtime.

The defending OCAA & CCAA champion Cambrian Golden Shield finished first in the 1997-98 regular season with a record of 13 wins, three losses and one tie.

In the OCAA playoffs, the Golden Shield dropped a 10-2 decision to the Sir Sandford Fleming College Knights before rebounding with an 11-3 victory over the Conestoga College Condors in the bronze medal game.

Meanwhile, the Mount Royal College Cougars of Calgary placed first in the 1997-98 ACAC hockey standings for an unprecedented sixth consecutive season.  The Cougars posted their best record in a quarter of a century -- 19 wins, 3 losses and 2 ties. 

The Red Deer College Kings faced the Cougars in one ACAC semi final.  The two teams traded home wins as Ryan Barrett tallied twice in Mount Royal's 4-3 victory and Kent Baumbach blocked 39 shots in the Red Deer's 3-0 shutout win. The Cougars ended the series at home with a 10-4 triumph.  Dion Hagan of MRC and Nolan Weir of RDC each tallied twice in the contest.

The ACAC championship final series saw the Cougars face their crosstown rival, the SAIT Trojans. The MRC powerplay notched four goals and Ryan Barrett completed the hat trick in a 7-3 win over SAIT to open series.  Matt Holmes notched the winner with 1:25 left in regulation as the Cougars ended the reign of the Trojans with a 4-3 victory.  Mike Pozzo, Ryan Barrett, and Brad Bagu also tallied for MRC in the season finale while Jamie Kuntz, Josh Erdman, and Gary Banerd replied for SAIT. For Mount Royaal, it was their 8th league title and first since the 1994-95 campaign. 

At the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Hockey Championships in Sudbury, the Shield tripled the OCAA champion Seneca College Braves 6-2 in the event opener. Derek Descoteau, Matt Holmes and Pat Spring each tallied twice for the Cougars as MRC humbled Cambrian 9-1.  Ryan Bechard's two goals paced the Cougars to a 9-3 triumph over the Seneca College Braves. With 4:56 elapsed in the first overtime, forward Mike Pozzo's backhand shot bent the twine to give the Cougars a 4-3 victory over the Golden Shield in the winner take all finale and their first national crown since the 1987-88 campaign.


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