Volume 93, Issue 85
Friday, March 10, 2000
Western's fate rides on finals
SO... YOU COME HERE OFTEN? The Mustangs hope to be all over their competition this weekend as they compete in the OUA West championship.
By Wes Brown
So men's hockey has come down to this the Western Mustangs versus the York Yeomen. The winner advances to the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union championships, the loser goes home.
Western fought a tough West semifinal match against the Laurier Golden Hawks, but managed to escape the round unscathed with a 2-0 series victory. York, on the other hand, was taken to overtime in game three of their East semifinal series, but put away the Brock Badgers in the end.
With all this behind them, the Queen's Cup awaits in Waterloo this weekend and both teams know they have their work cut out for them. Mustang head coach Clarke Singer said he talked to his players and at this point in the season, it's important to put the records and statistics aside.
"It's going to come down to who is the better team on that day," he said. York is playing the best hockey they've played all year. They've got one of the best players in the country back in their lineup, so that is definitely going to give them something to play for."
Singer said the lack of offensive output from a normally high powered Mustang offensive team in the semifinals was a product of running into a hot goalie and the style of hockey the playoffs demand.
"We had 105 shots on [Golden Hawks' goalie Frank Ivankovic] between the two games against Laurier he played extremely well," he said about the Mustangs' four goal total from the series. "In the playoffs you have to make sure you take care of you own end first, the other end will come naturally. If we bring the same type of game into [tomorrow's] match I'll be happy."
Singer added everybody wanted the ticket to Saskatoon, however, the team that receives it would have to earn it.
York head coach Graham Wise said his team has literally fought their way into the finals. "We were seven points out of the playoffs at Christmas, but we fought our way into the post-season coming down the stretch," he said.
"Brock gave us a tough series, especially that last game it went into OT. We had to win two games on the road playoffs or not, that's always tough to do."
Wise knows he's up against a pretty good team in Western and said everyone on his squad understood they had to raise their level of play. "I think both coaches need to get their teams up for this game. Both coaches have scouted [the other] team's roster and it will be a matter of going over tapes before the game."
Western captain Jeff Petrie, who has been with the team for four seasons, said it would be his job, with the help of three other veterans, to get the team motivated for this all important game.
"[Goalie] C.J. [Denomme], [forward Damon] Hardy, [defenceman Matt] Monroe and myself have all been here for the past four seasons and it will be our job to make them understand that although this is a big game it is only a game," he said. "In my first year, we played York in this game and they beat us. The four of us were on that team so there is a little more motivation."
He added Western had a 2-1 record against the Yeoman this season, beating them 10-1 and 7-1 earlier in the year and dropping a 4-1 loss just after the holidays. "They're a good team and they're finally starting to play like they can. In the end the best team [tomorrow] night will get to go to nationals."
The puck will drop for the OUA West final at 7 p.m. in Waterloo.
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