Fairing well from court to court
Hockey night at Western
Not enough penalties for Rocker
Hockey night at Western
By Sean Maraj
It's February and that means Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day and of course, the beginning of Western's indoor hockey season.
The season began last weekend and this year, the team hopes to walk away with a medal in the Ontario University Athletics championship. The Mustangs finished seventh overall last year, with the squad not attending the OUA championships because of bad weather. This year, they hope to pull out a top three finish.
Western head coach Keith Concisom said he looked forward to a lucrative season, especially after this weekend, when the team played three close games against strong teams in the OUA Queen's University, the University of Toronto and York University.
"After the weekend, we're going to be a strong contender. It's going to be tough there's a lot of strong competition. On any given day any one team can beat the others. It really comes down to the final [OUA championship] weekend," Concisom said.
Team manager Karen Murtaugh echoed these sentiments and pointed to the team's returning starters as one of the biggest reasons why the Mustangs can expect to do well. She also stressed the importance of their fundamental skills and the enthusiasm which comes with new players.
"We're pretty good all around. We showed we can score we scored more this weekend than we scored all year last year. We have a good mixture of experience and new talent," Murtaugh said.
Team captain Jenn Symmes was also optimistic about the season and noted the team's ability to play effectively on both sides of the floor. "We're very strong, we have all our starters coming back. We're a team that can play in transition from defence to offence, plus we have a great bench," she said.
Concisom said the team still has some work to do before the championships come rolling around.
"There's a bit of a learning curve. We have a whole new system that's more high intensity and there's a lot of movement. Getting that instilled [in the players] is a weakness right now," Concisom said.
Waterloo head coach Sharon Creelman said she was also optimistic about her team's chances and was confident they would be in contention for a medal by the end of the season. She pointed to her team's depth as a major factor in her team's potential success.
"I thought our team played particularly well [last weekend], we had 4-5 games which were very strong," Creelman said. "Depth of the team is our strength, we have 14 kids and in indoor we can only dress 12. We have 14 and its a great help.
"Any of the top three teams can win. They played pretty close [this past weekend] so it's wide open," she said.
As to how the season will turn out, Concisom was optimistic. "We're definitely a contender for a medal. What colour it is all depends on who shows up."