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Volume 90, Issue 73

Tuesday, February 4, 1997



Knocking on second place's door

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
MEET JEFF MANCINI – This is Jeff Mancini. He's a hockey player. He plays for the Mustangs. They won on Friday. They lost on Saturday. Ho hum.

By Joe Ruscica
Gazette Staff

If there is one word that can sum up Western's hockey season thus far, it's inconsistency, with a capital 'I.'

The Mustangs split another weekend with an upset over first-place Waterloo and a loss to the second-place Windsor Lancers. Western remains in third place with a 10-10 record, which appropriately reflects the team's up-and-down season.

Friday night at Thompson Arena, Western could do no wrong. In a 6-2 upset over Waterloo, Cam Law opened the scoring for the Mustangs early in the first period and they never looked back.

Western's main problems this year – penalties, sloppy neutral play and lack of intensity – were next to nil. The Mustangs only took four penalties, dominated the neutral zone and every line was puck-hungry – on this night the Western Mustangs were unstoppable.

Head coach Barry Martinelli was pleased with the victory, saying everyone played an excellent game.

"When everyone shows up, we can make some noise," he said. "When we have the lead, we play with a lot of confidence."

Saturday night however, Western didn't show up to play. Coming into Windsor, the Mustangs looked to take over second place and climb to 11-9.

Tied after the first period at a goal apiece, the Lancers took control and scored four goals in the first five minutes of the second. Windsor's victory tied the season series at two games each but Western still leads the series in goals (21-20) which could play a factor come playoff time.

Co-captain Brian Grieve was disappointed with the loss but has high hopes for the remainder of the season.

"We fell apart team-wise," he said. "It was a combination of things – some guys didn't show up and we have a lot of young guys this year that are still learning."

Grieve remains optimistic and predicts a second-place finish.

Martinelli is looking forward to the playoffs, which start at the end of February and feels his team could turn some heads.

"The playoffs are one game [sudden death format]," he said. "We're not the favourites but we have nothing to lose and more importantly, we know we can beat all these teams. But we can't afford to have guys take a day off."

With six league games remaining (three at home and three on the road), the Mustangs control their own destiny. A respectable second-place standing is attainable. They travel to York tomorrow and host Laurentian Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Thompson Arena.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997