Volume 93, Issue 32
Wednesday, October 27, 1999
Hockey stars shine with 2-0 start
©Graphic by Colin Butler
By Wes Brown
The Western men's hockey team shot into the 1999-00 season by slapping both York and Laurentian universities with losses last week.
Thursday night marked the home opener for Western as a highly respected and talented York team skated into London, only to be overpowered by the Mustangs with a score of 6-1.
Third-year Western defenceman Joe Birch said the Yeomen are supposed to be Western's main competition this season which creates a good healthy rivalry.
"Both teams have strong recruits and a lot of good returning players from last season. They are still going to be a strong team this year, it's really hard to get a strong feel for the team so early in the season," Birch said.
Squeaking by Laurentian 7-6 on Saturday was a scary affair for the Mustangs and Birch said the Voyageurs were pumped for their home opener and prepared to play a tough game.
"[The league] gets up to play Western whenever they come to town. The fans were on our cases and their goalie played a great game. We had to really fight for the win," he said.
Birch added the team has now played approximately six games together and collectively they know they have a lot of talent. When playing Laurentian, Birch said the Mustangs know they must remain mentally tough.
Western head coach Clarke Singer said this toughness comes down to one thing focus. "A lot of teams that we don't think are as good as us are the ones who can surprise you. We underestimated Laurentian a little bit and they almost beat us, whereas York is probably one of the best teams in the province and we beat them handily. It's a product of sport, sometimes you have great nights and sometimes you don't."
Singer added he thought the Mustangs had a great team effort both offensively and defensively on Thursday night, getting off to a quick start. However, he said Saturday's game versus Laurentian was a bit of a struggle.
"We were up 6-2 with about five minutes to go and the game ended up 7-6. [Laurentian] got a couple of breaks and all of a sudden we're squeezing our sticks a little tighter than usual," Clarke said.
He added Western has something to prove every night they step onto the ice regardless of missing the playoffs last season.
Graham Wise, head coach for York, said Western has a very solid team and played well for the entire 60 minutes. "Western is going to be a strong team. They have a lot to prove this season. They had a good team last year and they didn't make the playoffs. This year, again, they have a good team," he said.
Western continues their season at home tonight against Ryerson Polytechnic University at 7:35 p.m.. On Friday the Mustangs travel to Brock University to take on the Badgers at 7:30 p.m..
Copyright © The Gazette 1999