Volume 92, Issue 74
Tuesday, February 9, 1999
Losing streak gets put on ice
© Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
By John Dinner
The monkey is off their backs.
After the Western men's hockey team allowed their losing streak to hit five with a 4-2 loss Thursday night to York, the Mustangs got back in the win column with a 7-3 pounding of the Laurentian Voyageurs on Saturday.
On Thursday night in Toronto, the Mustangs got back the services of defenceman Jim Moss and centre Jeff Petrie, after they returned from the World University Games in Slovakia. Injured winger Rob Schweyer also helped bolster a line-up which was looking to get out of a four-game slide.
York however, was also getting back captain and defenceman Julian Dal Cin as well as two top scorers, winger Sasha Cucuz and centre Mike Williams. Thus, the Yeomen had ideas of extending their two game winning streak.
"We knew that they were struggling a little bit," said Yeoman head coach Graham Wise. "But we had to beware of the angry bear syndrome and to avoid that we knew we had to get off to a quick start."
That start was ignited by the returning Williams, whose two first period goals deflated the Mustangs and put them in a hole they couldn't climb out of, despite a valiant third period effort.
"With each loss we kept sinking lower and lower. The frustration began to mount with each loss and this loss put us at our lowest point," said veteran Mustang winger Damon Hardy. "We knew that to make the playoffs we couldn't afford to lose again."
With that attitude, Western hosted Laurentian on Saturday night and with a new found energy was able to get their offence going, scoring seven times on the evening.
"It was do or die time," said Mustang head coach Barry Martinelli. "We knew that to control our own fate in terms of making the playoffs we had to win."
The Mustangs took the most difficult step in turning around the losing streak by finally getting a win.
"We've taken the biggest and hardest step with the win. A win can solve so many of the problems we had during the streak," Hardy said. "We've worked through most of it and now we just have to continue working through practice this week."
The win was a result of some of the younger guys on the team stepping up their play, contributing on the offensive end. The "crash line," made up of rookie forwards Chris and Kevin Hare and Todd Linton, contributed two goals and played some key minutes on the power play.
"We're a pretty deep team, it's definately one of our strengths," Hardy said. "When we can rely a little bit on everyone we're a lot stronger than relying on one or two lines. Our defence really stepped up [on Saturday] and that translated into improved offence for us."
The Mustangs go on a two game road trip travelling to Ryerson on Friday and Brock on Saturday before playing their last two games of the season against division rivals Waterloo and Laurier.
"The season is in our hands now. We control whether or not we finish in the playoffs or not," Martinelli said.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999