Volume 92, Issue 47
Thursday, November 26, 1998
Petrie dishes it out
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
YOU AIN'T GOING NOWHERE. Western centre Jeff Petrie has used his size and skill to dominate his opponents as he leads the Mustangs into action tonight against York.
By John Dinner
Heart, desire, a willingness to win and skill are all attributes which make for a successful team captain. For the Mustang hockey team, they were able to get all this and more from their captain Jeff Petrie.
The third-year centre from London wore the assistant captain's "A" last year, graduating to this year's captain for a variety of reasons.
"He competes every shift and has a great attitude," said head coach Barry Martinelli. "It's a pretty heavy responsibility, but after a few exhibition games we knew he was the right person."
Petrie, who played junior hockey with the Trenton Sting, a tier two junior A club, has responded to the added responsibility with his best season yet as a Mustang.
Leading the team in goals, power-play points, hits and tied with right-winger Damon Hardy for points (ninth in CIAU), Petrie's play has delighted but not surprised Martinelli.
"We thought he could be a pro player," Martinelli said. "He has the size and intensity along with a lot of skill. He's matured into the type of player we thought he could be."
That maturity has allowed Petrie, a six-foot-two winger, who is close to 200 pounds, to lead a team loaded with leadership and talent. Fourth-year players like Hardy and defenceman Cam Law, as well as rookie defenceman Jim Moss, who was last year's captain of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, help make this easy.
"He worked really hard in the summer, not just in the gym but he was on the ice a lot," said linemate Hardy. "I thought he was going to have a great year and he established himself as the leader of the team after the first few games. We all knew what he could do but he's exceeding most everybody's expectations."
This talent and leadership level not only makes the Mustangs an Ontario Union Athletics favourite, but also gives the captaincy a lot more pressure.
"I knew I had to step up my play this year and being named captain gave me a lot of confidence," Petrie said. "But on the ice I try not to think about it too much. I think I play my best games and help the team the most when I play my game."
Petrie's game is a physical one which is complemented with a nose for the net and a scoring touch that has led to eight goals so far this season.
"I knew I had to step it up this season and being captain really forced me to it's part of the job."
Stepping it up is certainly something the hard-nosed centre has done, only one point off last year's season total through only 10 games this season.
Petrie's play has been one of the reasons Western only stands one point back of Laurier for first place in the physical Far West division, with two games remaining before the Christmas break.
The first is tonight at Thompson Arena where they take on the York Yeoman, who lead the Mid West division. Game time is 7:30 p.m..
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Copyright © The Gazette 1998