Volume 93, Issue 40
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
Mustangs ranked No. 2 in Canada
HEY, GOALIE! RISE AND SHINE! THERE'S A GAME GOING ON! The Ontario University Athletics and the rest of Canada are waking up to the fact that Western hockey is ranked number two and moving up.
By Wes Brown
The first snowfall of the season brings one thought and one thought only to mind Mustang hockey.
It's not just the weather that has perked interest in the Western men's hockey team. Rather, it's the team's impressive 6-0 record and number two national ranking which have raised eyebrows.
Head coach Clarke Singer said his team had a couple of close one goal games, but added they showed true character and perseverance in their early season efforts.
"It's been an all round team effort so far. Good goaltending, a great group of guys on [defence] and a deep bunch of forwards," he said. "We're not going to be satisfied with ourselves, we have to stay positive and keep challenging ourselves."
Owning up to the reputation of the number two team in all of Canada can amount to a lot of pressure, but Singer said it hasn't altered the mindset of the team, other than being a nice compliment for all their hard work.
"Being ranked number two doesn't score us any goals on the ice. The truth is, the best time to be ranked high is at the end of the year, not the beginning. We've talked about it, but it's more for fan and outside interests," he said.
Mustang right winger and assistant captain Damon Hardy said it's exciting to be ranked number two nationally, but unlike Singer, Hardy said the ranking acts as a motivating tool.
"We want to play every game like we are number two in the country, if not number one. Our main competition isn't going to come from outside teams it's going to be ourselves," Hardy said. "We're the only team who is going to beat us on any given night."
Coming into the season, Hardy said he knew the Mustangs had a pretty strong team, but the only thing that remained to be seen was how well they were going to work together as a unit.
"We knew our off-season recruits and returning veterans were going to be good, but I think the key to our good start is the team chemistry. The guys are really there for each other," he said.
Western is an offensive–minded team and Hardy said he knows scoring will be a strength. However, he added the difference with this year's team is that every line had been contributing to the scoring. "Last season we left the scoring up to one line. This year, we're spreading the scoring around through all three of our lines."
Wilfrid Laurier University head coach Tony Martindale said Western is presently the best team in the division and added his team, along with the University of Waterloo and Western, are sure to have a fierce rivalry all season.
"Western is the front–runner by far at this point in the season. Our first game finished in a 2-1 Mustang victory, but they out shot us something like 28-17. It was pretty tight, playoff type hockey," he said.
Martindale said since the Mustangs missed the playoffs last season, they have extra incentive to play with fire. He added teams who play under these conditions are only out to win. "They're a good team that had a good recruiting year and their new guys have adjusted to the university level of play so far. They've even adjusted to some injuries some of the guys have suffered that shows depth," he said.
Western plunges further into their season and hopes to continue their winning streak at home against the University of Waterloo this Friday at 7:35 p.m..
Copyright © The Gazette 1999