Volume 96, Issue 66
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

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Mustangs squeak out series sweep

By BJ Noufaily
Gazette Staff

Dave Picard/Gazette
THEN IT'S GOALS YOU'LL GET. 6'5 Mustangs monster Chris Berti streaks to the net before scaring the living daylights out of Lakehead goaltender Grant McCune.

Coming off a shocking 9-2 defeat the previous night, the Lakehead Thunderwolves looked to prove that they were better than their poor showing Friday night against the Mustangs indicated. When they took the ice, they looked like a different team – specifically, an angry team.

Their change in attitude was reflected on the scoreboard, as Lakehead jumped out to an early 2-0 first period lead. But, like they've done to so many opponents before, Western bided their time, regrouped and eventually prevailed with a 5-4 win.

Western coach Clarke Singer discussed his team's early misfortune on Saturday night.

"We were working hard [in the first period], but [Lakehead] out-worked us," he said. This allowed Lakehead to post a two-goal first period lead.

But, as good teams tend to do, Western responded. When captain Ryan Mckie's shot led to a fat rebound, forward Darren Mortier jumped all over it like a plump Canadian on a bacon sandwich, putting Western on the board.

It's hard to tell if it was being outshot 13-6 in the first, the Western band playing the Hawaii Five-O theme song or the thought of their nine billion game winning streak coming to an end, but Western came out fired-up in the second period.

The Western defense set the tone for the period early. Led by Shawn Thompson and Mckie, the backliners were giving the crowd more hits than The Beatles.

While the rest of the team was finishing their checks like Jann Arden finishing a rack of ribs, the forwards started to rack up the goals. Spark plug Tim Zafiris scored his first of three goals after a great pass from Jamie Chamberlin.

To complete the comeback, Darren Mortier gave Western the lead with a feathery tip, as the Mustangs outshot the Thunderwolves 19-3 in the second period.

The third period started with another early Zafiris goal and what looked to be the final farewell to another minor threat to the team's unbeaten streak. But, after a scrap between Western's Christ Berti and Lakehead's Aaron Piccini, it was clear that the game would be, as Singer said, "emotional and close to the end."

The Thunderwolves bolted back into the game with two quick goals to tie the affair at four. However, Western goalie Mike D'Alessandro came up big, setting the stage for a Mustangs' win.

"We battled and battled," explained Lakehead coach Pete Belliveau. "This game is a major disappointment."

The final blow came when Zafiris fired home his third goal of the game to give Western a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish.

After the game, a confident Zafiris spoke about Western's dominance. "Nobody can beat us, we only lose if we beat ourselves."

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