Volume 94, Issue 61
Thursday, January 11, 2001
Western and Laurier duel tonight - Golden Hawks present tough challenge
IF I WANTED TO DANCE, I WOULD HAVE TAKEN SALSA LESSONS. Western and Laurier battle tonight at Thompson Arena.
By Ryan Dixon
Thompson Arena is soon to be the site of what is sure to be an epic clash between the surging Laurier Golden Hawks and the still undefeated Western Mustangs hockey club.
Both teams are coming off weekend triumphs Western defeated Windsor, while Laurier downed Waterloo. The win for the Golden Hawks was their fourth in a row, including action at a tournament in Guelph.
Western head coach Clarke Singer, said he knows his team is in for a battle. "They are on a hot streak, so we expect them to come to Thompson ready to play."
Singer said the stingy Laurier defence will ensure a tight checking match. "They are one of the best defensive teams in Ontario University Athletics. They have a strong goaltender and they like to take away the neutral zone."
The goaltender Singer referred to is Chad Marshal, and Laurier head coach Tony Martindale confirmed Marshal's big role in any success the Golden Hawks have.
"He's got one of the best save percentages in the league and he was our best player in the first half," he said.
While skating room might be at a premium tonight, Martindale denies it is because his team implements the neutral zone trap. He said it is more a case of the speed of his players and puck pursuit taking away the passing lanes. "I'm not a trapping coach and a big reason for that is I think the players like to play a pressure system."
Singer said the Mustangs will make some adjustments to suit the Laurier style. "We are going to have to be very smart with the puck, make good passes and really limit the amount of neutral zone turnovers."
The Mustangs have been a swift skating team all season, which has made a big contribution to their success. Singer said while the sight of Mustang forwards in full flight, driving around opposing defenceman might be aesthetically endearing, it may not be the best way to get on top of the Golden Hawks.
"We need to get the puck deep on them, maybe it will mean dumping it in more than carrying it wide. We need lots of shots. Sometimes there is a temptation to look for the perfect pass, but we need to get some shots and look for rebounds," Singer said.
Western captain Jeff Petrie agreed with his coach's feelings that the Mustangs must be willing to do some dirty work to get results.
"There aren't going to be too many pretty goals. We're going to have to make sure we get to the net, which is something we've been working on this week," he said.
Western has twice defeated Laurier this season. Martindale said he knows his team will have to be sharp to reverse that trend. "We'll have to play our best to have success."
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