OTTAWA -- The Carleton Ravens quest for the first men's soccer national championship in school history ended in penalty kicks heartbreak.

The Universite de Montreal Carabins defeated the Ravens 5-4 in penalty kicks at the Ravens' Perch Sunday afternoon, claiming the U Sports national championship.

The gold medal game went to penalty kicks after the game ended in a 2-2 draw. 

Ravens player Daniel Assaf forced penalty kicks with a goal in the 120th minute to tie the game.

This was the third time the Ravens appeared in the university soccer championship game. The Ravens also appeared in 2002 and 1984.

"It's painful. I have no words, it's unbelievable we lost this one," said one fan at the end of the game.

"They've gone really far. It's just sad they lost today. They really deserved it," said another fan.

For Ottawa resident and former Ravens player Michael Hofler, Sunday's match brought back a wave of memories. Hofler played on the Ravens when the team finished second in 2002.

"When I played here 19 years ago, there was snowbanks and a tractor had to clear the field," said Hofler.

Despite finishing second, Hofler was pleased with the four-day national championship here in Ottawa.

A crowd of up to 1,500 people attended each game, with 50 per cent capacity at the stadium on the campus of Carleton University.

"We would never have thought we’d be hosting in a COVID situation but here we are 22 months later running an event like this under the pandemic," said organizer Jennifer Brenning.

This was the second championship in five years for the Montreal Carabans. The Carabans also won the U Sports title in 2018.

The 2020 championship tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Guelph and Cape Breton played for bronze earlier in the day at Carleton University. The Cape Breton Capers won the match 2-0. 

With files from The Canadian Press.