Volume 94, Issue 71
Tuesday, January 30, 2001
Mustangs back on winning track
Geoff Robins for The Gazette
NO NEED FOR A STOOL TO GET TO THE TOP SHELF HERE. Jeff Attard shoots for the top as Western split their games on the weekend.
By John Dinner
Sometimes great teams need a wake up call. And sometimes they need a good kick in the teeth. The Mustang men's hockey team got both.
First they got their wake up call last week in the form of a 6-5 overtime loss. Then the kick in the teeth came Friday night at home, as the Mustangs lost their second straight game 5-3 to the York Yeomen.
Unfortunately for the Guelph Gryphons, it was all the Mustangs needed, as they were firing on all cylinders Saturday evening, blasting the Gryphons 10-2.
"We sort of walked right into the bees' nest," said Guelph head coach, Jeff Reid. "We knew we had to have a big effort tonight, and we just didn't do enough to keep the game in hand."
After Friday's loss to the Yeomen, the Mustangs held an impromptu meeting where frustrations were aired and an inward look was taken as to why the team had gone 16-0, only to lose two in a row.
"I think everyone was frustrated with our play and something needed to be done," said Mustang head coach, Clarke Singer. "We lacked the intensity and the focus. It was like we weren't playing for a reason."
It looked early on in Saturday's game, as though the message hadn't been heard as the Gryphons jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, scoring 36 seconds into the first period. That however, was when the sleeping giant finally awoke, as the Mustangs reeled off seven straight goals, leading 3-1 after the first and 7-1 after the second.
"We were all disappointed with how we had played. We had a closed door meeting to try and iron some things out," said Mustang captain, Jeff Petrie. "I think everyone saw the result [Saturday night]."
Leading the way for the Mustangs was forward Shaun Fairweather who notched five points on Saturday, including a hat trick that was capped off with nine seconds remaining in the game.
"Before the game we got together and laid out some goals that we felt we needed to reach as a team," said Fairweather, who earned a total of six points in the two weekend games. "We believe that if we meet these goals, we can win any game and we proved that tonight."
Defenceman Ryan McKie also had a pair of goals for the Mustangs.
Saturday night's win did potentially come at a pretty hefty cost. Midway through the first period, captain Jeff Petrie fell awkwardly on the ice after delivering a body check. He had to leave the game, but X-rays showed nothing was broken. It will be a few days until the full extent of the injury is known, as doctors wait for some of the swelling to subside.
Should the Mustangs lose their captain for an extended period of time, it would pose a huge challenge to the team as they head into the final three weeks of the regular season.
"It wouldn't be up to one or two guys to step up and try to fill the void," said Singer at the prospect of losing his top scorer. "It would be up to each member of the team to assume a little more responsibility and I think we demonstrated tonight that we are capable of doing that. To a man, everyone stepped up their game tonight."
The Mustangs will try to build off the 10-2 victory as they hit the road for two straight, against Ryerson and Brock.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000