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Volume 90, Issue 87
Tuesday, March 11, 1997
Ice trophy slips away
ROLL MY PRETTY, ROLL! Mustang Brady Blain (16) moves the puck down the ice in Western's heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss to the York Yeomen.
By Brendan Howe
The Western boys strapped on their skates ready to play, but left the Waterloo Recreational Centre with a bitter taste in their mouths after letting the last game of their season slip away.
The Mustangs took their eight-game winning streak into the OUAA final four Saturday against York, a team which had the better end of two regular season games against Western.
Led by yet another stellar performance by goalie C.J. Denomme, the team went on a roller-coaster ride with York. Down 3-1 in the second, goals by all-star defenceman Mike Shewan near the end of the second and Jason Haywood with 7:52 left in the third evened the score.
York winger John Brdarovic scored a goal with 4:05 left in the third but a gritty Western team bounced back less than a minute later when a goal by forward Rob Schweyer knotted the game at four.
"I'm proud of them," coach Barry Martinelli said. "They battled back, they were very excited."
It came down to a sudden death overtime period, where both teams came out of their dressing rooms flying. Western had several good scoring chances but just couldn't put the puck in the net. After a scramble in front of the net York winger Jeremy Crane put the puck by a sprawled Denomme to win the game.
"Western played a gritty hockey game," Yeomen coach Graham Wise said. "They have a lot of excellent players."
Shewan commented on his team's performance shortly after the game.
"The puck just didn't bounce the right way," he said.
He went on to comment on how valuable the Mustangs' last line of defence, Denomme, was to the team this year, pointing out that if it wasn't for the quick netminder, the team wouldn't have gotten anywhere near as far.
With 12 rookies on the team this year, getting to the OUAA final four was somewhat of a surprise.
"We were going in hoping our players would get something out of it," Martinelli said. "We wanted to give them some playoff experience."
He said it takes a young team time to come together but the Mustangs came together at the right time.
The loss was even more bitter because a win would have gained the Mustangs a berth in the CIAU finals. Instead, York and OUAA champion Guelph will play in Toronto for the national crown. They'll be going up against teams from Alberta and New Brunswick for the University Cup.
After Saturday's game the dejected Mustangs sat in the dressing room, some staring at the sign still up on the wall "Won win away." The team will have thoughts of how close it came to that win as the players spend the summer waiting for next season to come so they can avenge this year's season-ending loss.
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