Volume 93, Issue 82

Tuesday, March 7, 2000


SPORTS

Western hits road block en route to nationals

Hockey sets sights on CIAU gold

Dear baseball: You just lost a fan

Hockey sets sights on CIAU gold




Neil Malhotra/Gazette




By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

Bring on the Queen's Cup.

Western's men's hockey squad is championship bound after their 3-2 overtime victory against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Friday night.

Game two of the Ontario University Athletic Far West division finals featured a first period packed with scoring, as both teams traded a pair of goals.

The game remained deadlocked at two throughout the second and third periods, as Laurier goalie Frank Ivankovic was pelted with over 60 shots. Ivankovic carried his team into overtime, only to be beaten by left-winger Chris Hare at 14:26 of the first overtime period.

Western head coach Clarke Singer commended both goalies for playing a great game and said his team attacked the match with a routine strategy. "We didn't really do anything much different from our usual game plan. We tried to play a puck pressure game with a heavy forecheck. You also have to give credit to our penalty killing tonight."

Singer said his team was not overly confident going into Friday's game after the previous night's 1-0 squeaker in game one. He said when a game is tied in the playoffs, a team can never feel comfortable.

"We obviously had to play a tough defensive game and that was hard to do after being down three defencemen. A lot of guys played well [Friday], it was a gutsy effort," he said.

Fresh off his OUA rookie of the year honours, forward Darren Mortier stepped up his play with a goal and an assist in the overtime win. Mortier said his team took it to the Golden Hawks from the opening face off until the final goal.

"In playoff hockey, every goal is a big goal so the defence has to be extra tight. [Goalie] C.J. [Denomme] played a great game for us tonight, but it was the team effort that won the game," he said.

Mortier said he knew Laurier would be a difficult opponent in the series and added the Mustangs' usually potent power play had a tougher go without defenceman Ryan McKie.

"The playoffs are funny like that, the little things can effect you in a big way," he said about McKie's absence on the point. "We knew we had to keep putting the puck on net. Any shot over the blue line is a good one and that's what we were trying for."

With the 2-0 series loss, Laurier's post-season hopes came to an end. Head coach Tony Martindale said there were times this year when his team didn't play up to their potential, but added down the stretch, they turned into a legitimate contender.

"When you don't battle, you get discouraged. In this case, however, it feels a little better knowing how hard we fought," he said. "Western has a good team with good recruits and has a real good chance to go all the way. It's all going to come down to goaltending."

Martindale said the difference between the two squads was the Mustangs' consistent pressure. "In order to be successful we had to [keep the pressure up] – Western was excellent at it. They were pressing hard and had us on our heels for most of the game."

Looking ahead, Mortier said entering the next round on a high would be a key factor in their performance. He added his team was pretty confident with their ability, heart and aggression.

"We know those three things are going to take us a long way."


To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2000