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Volume 91, Issue 41

Tuesday, November 11, 1997



Lancers school Western at hockey

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
I KNEW I SHOULDN'T HAVE EATEN THE MYSTERY MEAT. Rookie Shaun Fairweather [9] learned two things over the weekend: concentrate on the basics while on the ice and never touch a green steak when off.

By John Dinner

Gazette Staff

They're learning to fly, but they don't have wings.

Failing to win a game in a home-and-home series this weekend against the Windsor Lancers, the Western men's hockey team showed they are a young team which is quickly developing.

On Thursday night, Western suffered a humiliating 7-2 defeat, allowing Windsor to play their own style of open-ice, fast hockey – opening up an early lead the Lancers would never relinquish. Capitalizing on Western's mistakes, Windsor controlled the tempo for most of the game, forcing turnovers in the defensive end and the neutral zone. The result was an already over-matched Western squad looking that much more out of their league.

On Saturday night, however, a much different Mustang team showed up, as the squad bounced back and played an extremely good game on Windsor's home ice, but ultimately losing 2-0. Although they failed to completely shut down the Windsor attack, Western showed they nearly had the tools and the character to beat them.

Second-year defenceman Kevin Murnaghan, out for Saturday's game with a suspension as a result of a fight near the end of Thursday's game, was pleased with the way the team bounced back from the Thursday night humiliation. Murnaghan, echoing the feelings of many of his teammates stated, "The guys played really well tonight. A real good effort, but it's still disappointing to lose."

Head coach Barry Martinelli was also pleased with his players' performance on Saturday, pointing to stronger play in the neutral zone and the aggressive forechecking, as reasons they were not beaten handily twice. He was also not short on praise for the Windsor Lancers, who he feels are extremely sound at the basics. "We've got to realize it's the little things that win hockey games, not the big things," he said. "Put the puck on net and go after it and try to chip one home. We can't be looking for the big play every time."

The improving play of rookies like centre Shaun Fairweather and the developing leadership roles taken by second-year players like centre Jeff Petrie could go a long way to improving the team's 3-3 record in the division. Both played extremely well Saturday, as did goalie C.J. Denomme, who faced well over 80 shots in the two contests and kept them in both games despite the scores. Unfortunately for coach Martinelli and the team, moral victories only count for so much and they don't count in the standings.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997