Looking for their groove
By John Dinner
The Mustang men's hockey team opened up action at home this weekend once again splitting games when they should have won both.
The Queen's Golden Gaels travelled to London looking for their first win of the season in Western's home opener on Friday night. What has normally been a difficult task for the Queen's squad, with three consecutive defeats at the hands of Western, the Gaels skated out with a 3-2 victory moving their record to 1-0-2.
"This was a battle of David and Goliath," said Queen's head coach Chris MacDonald. "And sometimes it's easier to play the role of David because there's no pressure on you to win."
It was once again a case of Western coming out flat to start the game and not finding their rhythm until it was too late. "We lost it in the first period," said Mustang assistant coach Clarke Singer. "We out-played them and out-shot them the rest of the way but our start just cost us too much."
The Mustangs play resulted in a 2-0 deficit heading into the second.
"Our forwards did a good job of getting to the net," MacDonald said. "It says a lot about our effort because their defencemen are big physical players."
Western was able to close the gap to a goal in the second period on goals by centres Damon Hardy and Jeff Petrie, but were not able to tie it up in the third despite outshooting Queen's by a 13-3 margin.
The frustration of losing a game they should have won was evident the following night when they took their emotions out on the Royal Military College Paladins. The Mustangs came out with guns a blazing, scoring 25 seconds into the game as they went on to smoke the Paladins 9-1.
After losing to Guelph in their season opener RMC had rebounded for an 8-1 shellacking of Toronto and had high hopes going into the tilt against Western.
"We were certainly frustrated and this was a good way to let off some steam," assistant captain Damon Hardy said. "We had to reaffirm to ourselves that we're a good team."
At 2-2 Western now moves into a grinding part of the schedule where they'll play the majority of their games against tough Far West division opponents.
"If we start out games like we have so far, against teams like Laurier and Windsor, it will be a much more difficult mountain to climb," said Barry Martinelli, head coach of Western.
That test begins on Friday as they host the first game of a home series against the Windsor Lancers at 7 p.m. in Thompson Arena.