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Volume 91, Issue 45

Wednesday, November 19, 1997



Hockey team sleeps-in against Warriors

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
LET'S GET THE PUCK OUT OF HERE. Mustang winger Chris George [27] takes a rare slapshot against Waterloo in an attempt to catch up after falling behind by five goals early in the game.

By John Dinner

Gazette Staff

The season of highs and lows continues for the young Mustang hockey squad. Coming off an impressive 7-2 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks on Wednesday, the team was beaten handily by the Waterloo Warriors on Friday night at home in Thompson Arena.

Falling behind very early, Waterloo was able to build up a 5-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the contest. An ineffective power-play which actually resulted in two Waterloo goals, shaky goaltending, shoddy defence and uninspired forwards, led to the first-period slaughter of which the Mustangs could not recover – ultimately losing 7-2.

Western assistant coach Joe Valeriote echoed these sentiments. "We came out flat," he said. "They scored three very quick goals and we couldn't rebound."

Veteran forward Jeff Mancini, in his third year with the team, was also very frustrated with the loss. "[Before the game] in the dressing room we were confident and really pumped up," he said. "We came out and a couple of bad bounces and glaring mistakes led to quick goals, from which we couldn't recover."

With the wind effectively taken out of their sails, the 'Stangs didn't go easily, as they kept the pressure on the Warriors throughout the remainder of the game, but couldn't put the puck into the net. This was highlighted by a couple of missed opportunities when the Warrior netminder was out of position and still couldn't find the back of a wide open net.

Mancini felt this was a particularly tough loss with only four games left before the holiday break.

"What we've got to realize is that every game is important," he said. "With only 24 games in a season, each game has to be played hard, especially against inter-division rivals who come out gunning for us."

Mancini also highlighted the youth of the team and the kinks which are still being worked out.

"Last year we went through the same growing pains with a tough first half and then we really put it together in the second part of the season," he said. "We just want to get through this part of the season, learn and come back ready for the run to the playoffs."

Hoping to mirror the incredible turnaround that carried the team to being a game away from the Ontario championships last season, Western will need to iron out a better game plan and become more consistent if they hope to repeat their post-holiday performance for the second year in a row.

The Mustangs' next game is in St. Catharines on Friday against Brock at 7:45 p.m., followed by Ryerson in Toronto on Saturday.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997