Volume 95, Issue 37

Wednesday, November 7, 2001
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Ruggers lose a close final

The golden stroke

Western remains unbeaten

Sunday sporting extravaganza

Fencing is slashing good fun

Western remains unbeaten

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

Lennie Kwan/Gazette
GO, GO GADGET GLOVE. The Western men's hockey team avoided all of Guelph's secret tricks, posting a 4-2 win on Saturday night.

The Western Mustangs men's hockey team continued their winning streak this past weekend, handily defeating the University of Guelph Gryphons.

Western once again bolted out to a quick lead and held on to beat a game bunch from Guelph by a 4-2 final. The Mustangs led the game 3-0 after the first twenty minutes, but the final two frames were much closer.

"The game was fairly even in the second and third periods," said Western coach Clarke Singer. "We came out strong, getting up 3-0 after the first, so that gave us an advantage."

Guelph head coach Jeff Reid said it was difficult for the Gryphons to come back after the initial Mustang blitz, but Reid noted much of the damage was self-induced.

"We basically gave them those goals. We made bad decisions and when you do that, with the skill [Western has], the puck ends up in the net," he said.

Singer said he was impressed with Guelph's effort in the last two periods. "They forechecked really hard and were very aggressive on the puck. They showed a lot of character playing hard when they were down," he said.

Quick starts are nothing new to this team, who remain undefeated this season.

Singer said getting the jump on their opponent is a definite goal of the Mustangs. "That's been one of our strengths this season. We like to come out hard and establish the forecheck, especially at home. We like to get the first check, first shot and the first goal," he said.

Western's new captain Ryan McKie said part of the reason Western has been excelling early is due to necessity. "I think teams are going to come out hard against us. We're a bit of a measuring stick because of our high ranking, so I think we have to come out hard to counter that," he said.

Singer said a strong work ethic has been a hallmark of this team early on. "The guys are working really hard. Half of the guys on the roster are new and they're meshing well. The line combinations are clicking, although I think we're still at the experimental stage," he said.

The team has also come together quite early this year, McKie said. "All the guys come from similar situations. We all left home at an early age and we all kind of know what to expect. [Singer] did a great job of recruiting and the returning guys are doing a good job of making the new guys feel welcome," he said.

As a result, Singer said the team is meeting, if not exceeding expectations. "I'm maybe a little surprised that we're still undefeated thus far on the season, but our expectations were high coming into the season. I'd be a little disappointed if we weren't doing well," he said.

After being trounced by the Mustangs, Reid readily acknowledged Western's limitless potential.

"Obviously their talent level is through the roof, top to bottom. They should win handily every game and that will be their challenge. They'll probably need three or four pucks out there for all their guns."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001