Volume 96, Issue 75
Thursday, February 12, 2003

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Mustangs annihilate Laurier

By Brian Cox
Gazette Writer

Lennie Kwan/Gazette
JOE KNOWS HOCKEY. LAURIER KNOWS LOSING. Mustangs forward Joe Talbot skates past a helpless Laurier defenceman who kept whispering to himself, "the horror, the horror."

Some bets in life are worth making. Some aren't.

When your roommate bets you $20 that you can't substitute nacho cheese mix for milk with your breakfast Cheerios, it's worth showing him who's the man. But when you cheer for Laurier, and Western's men's hockey team is defending Thompson Arena in front of 800 plus fans, you might as well pay up front.

The Mustangs covered the spread with Globetrotter-like ease Saturday night. The defending National Champions destroyed Wilfrid Laurier University in a 15-1 turkey shoot, marking another high point in a remarkable season.

Looking like he just hacked up a mid-term, Laurier head coach Mark French scowled when asked where his team's execution was lacking. "Do you want a list?" was all the visibly irate coach could manage.

French had good reason to be miffed. The Golden Hawks' defense looked like the Oakland Raiders' offensive line at the Ice Capades. Western speedsters skated circles around a listless opposition, who were often forced into cheap penalties and Happy Gilmore-esque aggression.

Opening the first period with six unanswered goals, Western outshot Laurier 16-3. At intermission, Mustangs assistant coach Sam Semple seemed blasť about his team's strategy. "We need to keep playing the same way and force mistakes," Semple said.

The attitude seemed to stick in the second period. Western kept up a relentless forecheck as chants of "Pizza, pizza," (in reference to the free personal pizzas Pizza Hut supplies for all in attendance if the Mustangs score eight or more goals) reigned down from the stands. Ryan Held sent the crowd into a personal pan frenzy when he scored the Mustangs' eighth goal of the game and his 11th of the season.

After two periods, referee Ray McManus said, "plenty enough to manage out there," regardless of the 11-1 tally. He was right. On-ice tensions arose, as a frustrated Laurier squad refused to go down quietly.

With the atmosphere of a Tyson/Lewis press conference emerging, McManus said he wasn't concerned about the score. "I just try to settle 'em down, let them play hockey."

A few minor scuffles broke out in the third period, but it was the individual effort of forward Jamie Chamberlain that stole the show. Left one-on-one on a clear break, Chamberlain put on a vanishing act that would have puzzled a United Nations weapons inspector. After an in-and-out move to lose his defender, he calmly roofed his eighth goal of year.

Western head coach Clarke Singer didn't seem surprised that his players kept a high level of intensity throughout all three periods. "Emotion was a huge part of this game, and we did a good job of keeping it at just the right level," he said.

Singer added he was pleased the rough stuff continued into the third. "It shows just how hungry [the players] are to win, get better and improve."

The Mustangs look to extend their perfect 22-0 record Thursday night against the University of Waterloo Warriors.

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