Volume 92, Issue 70
Tuesday, February 2, 1999
Losing skid puts playoffs in jeapardy
By Anthony Thomas
Coming off three loses in a row, the Western hockey team hoped to stop the bleeding Friday night in Waterloo against the last place team in the Far West division, the Waterloo Warriors, but ended up losing 4-2.
Friday's loss combined with Waterloo's tie on Sunday left the Mustangs tied with the Warriors for last place. "They are missing some quality hockey players. We have played better and lost to them," said Waterloo head coach Dave Cressman.
The recent losing trend has raised the question of whether Western will miss the playoffs. "I don't think that they should. They've got too many quality hockey players but our league has four solid teams and it's a shame that one of them will miss the playoffs," Cressman commented.
Western winger Todd Bradley acknowledged there is a risk of an early end to the season. "Our division is so tight that if you go on a little skid like we are, you could be out of the playoffs in a hurry," Bradley said. "Just two weeks ago we were battling for first now we are going to be lucky to make the playoffs if we don't turn this around."
Bradley, a Western veteran, has put forth very strong efforts scoring three goals in three games in an attempt to get Western out of its slump.
"It's my duty to step it up now," he said. "I'm one of the older guys and I've been through this type of situation before so it's just a matter of stepping it up and going hard every night."
Western assistant coach Clarke Singer admitted the team has been dealing with injuries and missing players but he is not disappointed with the team's efforts. "We've been playing really hard and have just been coming out on the short end of the stick and not getting the bounces."
Singer said he is not overly concerned with the recent losses. "We'll be fine," he said. "I think that every team every year goes through a bit of a downward turn and luckily we're going through it now and not later.
Singer said it is not going to be easy but he is confident Western will be in the playoffs. "It's going to be a battle right down to the wire but we're confident in our team.
The 'Stangs will get some additional help this week with the return of defenceman Jim Moss and centre Jeff Petrie from the World University Games. Right-winger Rob Schweyer, who played one of two games last week, is day to day, possibly reuniting Western's No. 1 line of Schweyer, Petrie and left-winger Damon Hardy for the first time since before the holiday break.
With six games left in the regular season every game is important. The hockey team travels to York on Thursday to play the Yeoman.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999