The veteran Trent Excalibur squad had high hopes going into Baggataway Cup weekend. Their 10-2 record and second place finish set them up to take on the 8-4 Guelph Gryphons. After a dramatic overtime finish during playoff game against Bishops, the Excalibur were ready. However, the No. 5 seed Gryphons came out hard early and were persistent leading to a shocking 12-11 double-overtime sudden death victory in the Cup's first Quarter-final at Richardson Stadium.
Trent took the lead with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a wing dodge from Nick Finlay. Guelph would win the ensuing draw and call timeout despite Trent objections that he was still on the defensive half when it was called. The Trent D made a big stand before Guelph would call another timeout. With just ten seconds on the clock an early slide left to a man open on the crease and a Guelph goal with 4 seconds to play. For the second straight week we were off the overtime. Trent took the lead again in the second overtime and were able to win the ensuing draw. The team got the ball over half for a timeout. While attempting to run out the clock a pass was deflected leading to a fast break even up goal for Guelph. As teams went to sudden death Trent had two opportunities to score before a patient Guelph squad was able to capitalize on their opportunity.
"The outcome was obviously disappoiting," said Excalibur' head coach Geoff McKinley. "We had two opportunities late to win and simply couldn't seal the deal. Similar situations occurred in previous games unfortunately today it didn't go our way."
The game was very disciplined and filled with swings in momentum. In the second of two four-minute overtime periods, Trent got a big goal from Nick Finlay with 2:35 left to grab an 11-10 lead on a fast break. A costly turnover during Trent trying to run out the clock would lead to a goal from Guelph attacker James Short. A flag was also thrown on this play to senior Nick Karam as he collided with the shooter on the crease, leading to a Guelph possession that saw them shoot and miss with mere seconds on the clock. In sudden death Trent again had a chance to strike first but a couple big saves by Guelph goalie Hayden Walsh stymied to offense. This set up a goal by Guelph hero of the day Alec Simons, who finished the day with 5 goals.
Garrett Eddy led the scoring for Trent with 4 goals.
“The great thing about this weekend is that you just need to make the tournament and anything can happen, which is also the bad thing… in a one a done playoff execution is critical.” said McKinley who lead the Excalibur to their third straight Baggataway Cup tournament and sixth in their 11th year of the program. “It is definitely a gut-wrenching loss but, we have a strong nucleus of players returning despite some key departures, and I think this experience will help to ignite a fire.”
Trent finished their season with a 13-3 overall record.