Volume 92, Issue 49
Tuesday, December 1, 1998
Denomme back for coach's 200th
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
By John Dinner
The men's hockey team were aware that finishing the first half with two wins would mean they had a chance at first place in the Far West and would go into the extended break on a positive note.
Facing theYork Yeomen and Laurentian in Voyageurs their final two games, two victories became a real possibility. Especially considering the return of their No. 1 goalie CJ Denomme, who was back in net for the first time this season.
On Thursday night against the Mid West division leaders, York, the Mustangs demonstrated their physical presence which has dominated Far West action this year, scoring two quick goals off their strong forecheck. From there the 'Stangs didn't look back as they easily disposed of the Yeomen 7-3.
Making his first start of the regular season after being sidelined with injury, Denomme stoned the potent York offence, not allowing them to get on the scoreboard in the first period.
"This was a very satisfying win for me," a jubilant Denomme said. "This has been the most frustrating season of my career. I feel like a kid again. Three goals in my first game back is okay. I don't think I had much of a chance on two of them, so I'm pretty satisfied."
Denomme had a lot of help in the game, as second-year defencemen Joe Birch and Paul Webb had statement games with their best performances of the season.
York coach Graham Wise had nothing but praise for the Mustangs, reflecting on the ease with which the Yeomen were handled.
"They came right at us off the bat with a strong forecheck," Wise said. "They out-played us in every way and the score showed that."
The confidence gained by Denomme and the team as a whole carried over to Saturday as the team travelled north to face the Voyageurs in Sudbury.
Displaying the same physical presence from the York game, Western rolled to a 5-0 victory over the Voyageurs, earning top spot in the Far West and a ninth place national ranking. It was also Denomme's first shutout of the season and coach Barry Martinelli's 200th career victory at Western.
"I don't put too much into personal goals, it has to be a team goal," Martinelli said. "I'm more proud of the fact that in my 13 years here we've never been below .500. We're always in the playoffs and we've been to the nationals four times."
This was not only a big win for Martinelli but the team as well.
"It was nice to get coach's 200th win before the break, but also it's important to go into the break on a winning note," Denomme said. "I don't think some of the guys on the team know how good they are or how good we can be. We're really starting to gel as a team."
These two dominant wins have helped establish Western as one of the premiere teams in Ontario University Athletics hockey, due in large part to their balanced attack and depth.
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