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McGill Redmen look to capture CIS men's hockey title for the first time

03/21/2012 05:46 EDT | Updated 05/21/2012 05:12 EDT
FREDERICTON - The McGill Redmen are in familiar territory at the Canadian university men's hockey championship, but this time around they're hoping for a different outcome.

The Redmen, who are seeded second at this year's Cavendish University Cup, made the final last year but lost 4-0 to the host New Brunswick Varsity Reds.

McGill captain Evan Vossen says experience will be a big asset for the Redmen, who open the six-team tournament against fifth-seeded Moncton on Thursday.

"We have a lot of guys that this is their fourth or fifth nationals so it's nothing new to us in terms of being here," said Vossen. "We've been successful all year with this experienced group and we just want to continue playing the way we have so we won't want to stray from that and really focus on that and let that show throughout this weekend."

Top-seeded UNB, No. 4 Western and No. 6 UQTR are in Pool A in the preliminary round, while McGill, No. 3 Saskatchewan and No. 5 Moncton are in Pool B. The first-place finishers from each group advance to Sunday night's final.

Top-seeded New Brunswick takes on UQTR in Thursday's other game while Saskatchewan and Western meet the losers of Thursday's games on Friday.

UNB and McGill are the hot teams heading into the tournament.

The Varsity Reds have won nine straight games and 12 of their last 13 while the Redmen have won their last 10 and finished with the best record in the country in conference play (22-4-2).

Redmen head coach Kelly Nobes says his squad has plenty of depth and is capable of beating any team in the tournament.

"We've found different ways to score and that's something that's been important for us this year and will be overly important the next three games," he said.

With injuries impacting their offensive production this year, McGill's Marc-Andre Dorion became the first defenceman in the program's history to lead the team in scoring with 39 points. The Redmen received goals from 22 different skaters during the regular schedule.

But the Redmen aren't getting ahead of themselves and Nobes says he's been trying to keep his players focused on getting past Moncton.

"That's where we've been making our adjustments and our tweaks," said Nobes.

Vossen says it will all come down to the details.

"It's not anything in particular that you work on, it's just making sure that little things get tied up because one little mistake could turn into a big one and end your tournament."

Unlike the rest of the teams in the tournament, McGill has never won the University Cup. Nobes is hoping that will change Sunday.

"The process of winning a championship starts on the first day of training," he said. "Our objective is to get better every day and to get better at areas we didn't feel we were good at or could improve on from last season."

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