The McMaster Marauders finished their 2012 OUA season over the past week, playing the York Lions, Windsor Lancers, and Western Mustangs.
The first match against the Lions saw the top two teams in the OUA West conference square off. The Oct. 17 game was a rematch of an intense bout hosted by McMaster, which saw plenty of cards, aggressive play, and offensive attack. The Marauders dropped the match on a 3-1 score and York moved to being ranked No.1 in the country after their defeat of Mac.
Surely the Maroon and Grey were looking for revenge against the Lions, while York looked to prove still worthy of the No.1 CIS ranking. But both teams would walk away with unfinished business, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.
Despite the low score, the game was full of fireworks. Scoring opportunities were abound for both squads in the first half but the Lions would draw first blood in the 38th minute. OUA-leader in goals, Adrian Pena, finished off a York attack by heading a cross past McMaster goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo.
McMaster would put together a strong second-half, putting nine shots on goal to pressure the Lions’ defense. Their offensive efforts would be rewarded in the 85th minute after a free kick from Ryan Garnett beat York’s wall and found the back of the net.
Momentum was with the Marauders after the goal and the Mac offense was clicking on all cylinders. In the waning minutes of the game, Dan Niksic forced York’s keeper to make incredible saves to preserve the tie.
On Saturday, the Marauders would travel to Windsor, Ont. to take on a Lancer team who finished 4th in the OUA West. After a disappointing result in their previous match, McMaster responded well against a formidable opponent. Mac controlled most of the match, with majority of possession taking place in the offensive third of the pitch. The Marauders would break the seal on the Lancer goal in the first half from Niksic’s second goal of his career. The second-year player’s tally would be the eventual game winner, as McMaster would maintain the lead for the rest of the game.
In the final regular season match, the Marauders headed to London to take on everyone’s least favourite university: the Western Mustangs. The Sunday afternoon showdown was expected to be a tough match-up after Western lost the first game to the Marauders earlier in the season and trailed McMaster in the OUA West standings.
The Mustangs were on the scoreboard first, with a strike in the 19th minute that beat the Mac defense. The Marauders would respond with a goal in the 36th minute off a penalty kick and the 1-1 tie would stand for the duration of the game.
The Marauders finished the 2012 season with a 12-1-3 record, good for 2nd place in the OUA West conference. Their position earned them a bye to the OUA quarterfinals, which will be held on Oct. 28.