Volume 93, Issue 86

Tuesday, March 14, 2000


Western clinches CIAU spot

Western consoled at CIAUs

NHL trade deadline to have little excitement or big deals

Western clinches CIAU spot

©Neil Malhotra/Gazette
WESTERN, YOU'VE JUST WON THE WEST FINAL, WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Western's hockey team travels to Saskatoon March 23-27 for the CIAU championship.

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

The Mustangs are heading West.

Saturday night the Western men's hockey team was up against the York University Yeomen, for not only a chance to play for the Queen's Cup Ontario University Athletics championship, but a ticket to compete in the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union tournament.

Head coach Clarke Singer said his team came out flying against York and after the first period the score was 3-0. "The final score ended up being 5-1 for us – we earned our ticket for the CIs. I think it was 4-0 near the end of the second, we had a lot of out-numbered rushes by using our speed," he said.

Going into the game, Singer reflected on the last time Western met York – a game which ended in a 4-1 loss for the Mustangs. "It was one of the only times this year we genuinely were not clicking. Our guys had that in the back [of their] heads and used it to get them going right off the bat."

Assistant captain Damon Hardy said his team was expecting a tough game from York who finished strong, winning over 10 games since the Christmas break. They would also be lifted by the return of one of the best forwards in the country – forward Mike Williams. "Going in, I think both teams had a little bit of desperation. We knew for one of us it was going to be our last game."

Hardy said the team played well on Saturday and got a lot of offensive output from the line of Darrin Mortier, Rob Frost and Justin Davis. "They led the way for us offensively all game. However, as a whole, we didn't lose a period all game," he said.

York head coach Graham Wise said Western capitalized on their chances. "I thought we started off pretty well, but it's always tough to play catch-up hockey."

Wise added the team was disappointed after battling back to make the OUA playoffs this season and also because the Yeomen went to the nationals last year.

After Saturday's West final, Western had to stir up the emotion and play OUA East champions University de Québec Trois Riviéres for the Queen's Cup.

Singer said Western has only ever won the trophy once in its illustrious career. Despite this incentive and a goal late in the third period which brought the Mustangs within one, UQTR was still able to hold on for a 3-2 victory.

"We out-shot and out-chanced them. They have one of the best goalies in the country and play a similar game to the one we do, with dump and chase and a tight forecheck. It came down to one defensive brake that didn't go our way."

Wise stuck around for the Western/UQTR game on Sunday and said he thought it was a well-played game for both sides. "Personally, I think it's the best game QTR's played all year. Western should keep their heads up high."

He added the tough thing about QTR was trying to get by their goalie. "You have to do a lot of things right to beat him. Because of that, it allows [QTR] to be more offensively aggressive and take more chances."

Hardy said the biggest game of the weekend was definitely Saturday's West final, but added his team still put in a solid afternoon on the ice versus the UQTR team. "We tried hard and put in a good effort," he said about the loss.

"When you talk about execution, it's the little things that make the biggest difference. In my eyes it was the result of nerves. We have a lot of young players on the team and we were asking a lot out of them."

Western and UQTR join the universities of Saskatchewan, Calgary, Brandon and Alberta in the CIAU championships beginning March 23.

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