Volume 91, Issue 66
Tuesday, January 27, 1998
Top line preserves streak
JOCK STRAP READY? OK, LET'S GET IT ON. The play of Western netminder C.J. Denomme has helped backstop the Mustangs to a current six-game win streak and a 10-game unbeaten skid.
By John Dinner
In the most entertaining three periods of hockey this year at Thompson Arena, the Mustangs defeated the Waterloo Warriors 4-3, extending Western's unbeaten streak to 10.
On the strength of superior goaltending from C.J. Denomme, who stopped 44 of the 47 shots he faced and another excellent performance by the top line, who again accounted for all four Mustang goals, Western was able to hold off the late-surging Warriors for the sixth win in a row.
Warrior head coach Don McKee was impressed with the play of the Mustangs' top line. "They scored all four goals, what else can I say. That one line was the difference."
Coming into the game, these Far West division rivals had both put together five-game win streaks and both teams knew something had to give. Fortunately for the Mustangs it wasn't them, as they got on the board first with Damon Hardy scoring his third goal in two games, just shy of four minutes into the contest.
Western rear guard Kevin Murnaghan felt coming into the game the Mustangs were really pumped. "We know that we'll have to beat these guys if we plan on going anywhere in the end."
The Mustangs put the game into the hands of Denomme, who stopped all 16 shots in the second period and 16 of 18 in the third.
"There aren't as many giveaways now as earlier in the season," Denomme said. "The defence is playing really well, which makes it easy for me to see pucks and make the stops."
In the second, Western was able to post a two-goal lead on goals from Rob Schweyer and Hardy's second of the game. However, for the third straight game, the Mustangs let their opponent back into contention.
The Warriors exploded in the third, scoring two goals just three minutes apart to tie the game at three. It stayed that way until there were about three minutes left when Hardy made a beautiful pass to linemate Jeff Mancini, who, with a Waterloo defenceman draped all over him, managed to put the puck home for the game winning goal and his third point of the evening. The assist also marked the third point for Hardy, bringing their line's two-game point total to a staggering 17 points.
"We were put together about four weeks ago and we made a conscience effort to gel," Hardy said when asked about the recent success of the line. "With [Hardy, Mancini and Schweyer] skating we knew we could be an offensive threat, but at the same time we could play a strong defensive role on the team. It has been our defensive play that has generated all of these opportunities for us."
The Mustangs' next home game is Thursday night against one of the nation's top teams, the Guelph Gryphons, at Thompson Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m..
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