Volume 92, Issue 81
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
Mustangs shut out of playoffs
By Anthony Thomas
It takes more than experience, talent and an above .500 record to make it to the playoffs in the Ontario University Athletics Far West men's hockey division a fact the Western Mustang hockey team is currently having to deal with.
The Mustangs' playoff dreams were dashed on Feb. 20 when the Waterloo Warriors tied the Windsor Lancers, leaving the Mustangs one point shy of the post season.
Mustang head coach Barry Martinelli was frustrated his team was eliminated, especially since several teams with lower records remain in the playoffs. "It's extremely frustrating considering where we were, compared to teams in the Mid-West and Mid-East, but our fate was in our own hands and we didn't come through."
With a 14-12-0 record, Western would have finished in first place in both the Mid-West and Mid-East divisions. "When you have teams like McGill [13-9-4] and Western eliminated and teams well under .500 like York [8-10-7], Laurentian [8-13-5], Brock [10-14-2], Toronto [6-16-4] and Queen's [5-14-7] making the playoffs there is a problem," Martinelli said.
The sub .500 York Yeomen even get a bye in the first round of the playoffs because their entire division finished below .500. "There has to be some way to reward a team with a winning record," Martinelli said. "We missed the playoffs and they [York] get a bye. I think that's wrong."
Mustang captain, centre Jeff Petrie, was also frustrated by the situation but did not use it as an excuse. "The other teams in our division had to deal with the same thing. We only have ourselves to blame," Petrie said. "We just didn't play as well in the second half as a team."
The Mustangs held first place in the highly competitive Far West midway through the season but couldn't hold on down the stretch run.
"Losing two players to the World University Games didn't help," Martinelli said. "We lost all four games during their absence and we had untimely injuries and suspensions."
Waterloo coach Dave Cressman said the divisional placement decisions are based on finances. "We [the OUA] don't have the finances and we are always looking for ways that are economically viable to organize the divisions."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999