Hockey team bounces back
By John Dinner
Western's hockey team continues to have a Jekyll and Hyde type of season. After suffering an embarrassing 7-2 home-ice blowout at the hands of Waterloo on Nov. 15, the Mustangs went on the road with something to prove and came through with a 3-2 overtime win against Brock on Friday and a 5-4 victory over Ryerson on Saturday.
Leading up to the weekend double-header, Mustang head coach Barry Martinelli wanted to ensure his players wouldn't repeat their poor effort in the Waterloo loss.
"It was the toughest week of practice this season," he said. "We really worked the guys hard."
On Friday against the Badgers, their work appeared to pay off as Western played outstanding in a penalty-filled affair. Both teams faced numerous power play and shorthanded situations and throughout the whole game, the Mustangs stepped-up and played tight-checking, aggressive hockey limiting the Badgers to only 24 shots through three periods of play and overtime.
Taking an early lead on a goal by Damon Hardy, Western fell behind in the second period by surrendering two goals. It wasn't until late in the third on a magnificent passing play, ending with rookie Shaun Fairweather putting it past the Badger goaltender, that Western was able to tie it up.
It was Fairweather again in overtime who made an outstanding play that eventually led to the game winner by Jeff Mancini.
For Western's contingent, it was a complete game where everyone made a contribution, especially the youngsters, who have stepped up their play to compliment that of the veterans.
Led by veteran Joe Cook and Cam Law, Western's defence was able to limit Brock's scoring opportunities and keep Western in the game.
"The defence played an extremely solid game," Mustang assistant coach Clarke Singer said. "One on ones, positional play, everything the defence really stepped up tonight."
Feeding off the previous night's win, Western traveled to Toronto to face the Ryerson Rams. Once again the 'Stangs set the pace, taking an early lead off a goal from team captain Joe Cook. Although the game ended up a close 5-4 score, it was never that close of a contest on the ice.
Taking some late penalties, the Rams were able to play their way back into the game, but Western proved to be too much on this night. Also scoring for Western were Matt Gray, Todd Bradley and Damon Hardy, who notched two.
Hardy has made a great contribution offensively this season, scoring three goals this weekend.
"We knew with the young team we have that the first half was going to be tough, but getting on a role before Christmas is big," Hardy said. "With big tests coming up this week [Laurier and Waterloo] it would be nice to string together four wins."
The Mustangs will try to build on their mini-streak when they host the Laurier Golden Hawks tomorrow night at Thompson Arena at 7:30 p.m..