November 25, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 48  

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Hockey team scores by the touchdown

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

Niru Somayajula/Gazette
LETS HOLD HANDS AND GET THE PUCK TOGETHER. Abe Herbst of the Mustangs races a Ryerson player to the puck during Western’s thumping of the Rams.

In two games this past weekend the Western Mustangs men’s hockey team scored more goals than two other teams in Ontario University Athletics have scored all year.

The Mustangs put on an impressive offensive display in weekend wins against Ryerson and Toronto. The Mustangs defeated Ryerson 14-4 on Saturday and needed overtime to defeat Toronto 9-8 on Friday.

After two periods, Friday’s game against Toronto looked like it was going to be a blowout — for Toronto. The Varsity Blues, who entered the game with a deceiving 1-6-1 record, came flying out of the gates and quickly opened a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes of the first period.

Western got back into the game by the end of the period with goals by Chris Rowan and Justin Davis. Just when it looked like the Mustangs were back in the game, Toronto came back with four quick goals in the second period. Brad Yeo added a goal by the end of the period but Toronto ended up taking a 7-3 lead into the third period.

“We got down early and really didn’t play well,” said Western head coach Clarke Singer. “We knew we just needed to chip away and get one goal at a time. We’ve scored four goals in a period before.”

The Mustangs came out hard and started to chip away at the lead with help from their power play. Jeff Martin scored 3:07 into the period on the power play, then Rowan scored but the goal was called back. The play led to another power play, and Martin scored again to cut the lead to 7-5.
Both power play goals came on delay of game penalties, which Toronto head coach Darren Lowe thought were questionable. “We can’t blame the refs, but I thought the calls were questionable. Delay of game calls for having the net knocked off are tough to call,” he said.

Ryan Held scored on a breakaway at 6:56 and it looked as though Western was on their way to climbing back. But just under two minutes later Tristan Senior scored for Toronto to restore the two-goal lead. What should have been the turning point for Toronto didn’t seem to faze the Mustangs.

Martin completed his hat trick with another power play goal and Jamie Sokolsky also scored on the power play with just 1:56 left to play to tie the game at eight.

Having all the momentum on their side, the Mustangs quickly completed their miraculous comeback as Ryan Hare scored the overtime winner two minutes into the overtime period.

“It feels great,” Martin said regarding the win. “The comeback was unreal. The team in the first two periods wasn’t us — we had no effort. But we stepped it up.”

The mood in the Toronto dressing room was drastically different.

“Our team is not playing with confidence,” Lowe said. “We blew a lead last week and the week before. Our record doesn’t reflect the quality of our team. We just haven’t played a full 60 minutes.”

Feeling the relief of Friday’s win, the Mustangs came out strong against the Ryerson Rams on Saturday, not wanting to make the same mistakes they did against Toronto. Ryerson was another team that would be easy to look past with a record of 1-7.

Western struck quickly, scoring on their first shot of the game on a goal by Held. The Mustangs kept coming as Hare and Mike Rice scored within five minutes of each other. Mark McMillan scored for Ryerson, but Martin quickly restored the momentum, scoring 30 seconds later.

The second period saw much of the same Mustang domination. Yeo, Held, Mike Stathopoulos and Martin all scored second-period goals to give Western an 8-2 lead.

Greg McMillan scored an early power play goal for Ryerson, but was followed by a short-handed goal by Hare 13 seconds later. Ryerson scored another power play goal before Western started adding insult to injury.

Jamie Chamberlain and Matt Bannan scored goals 22 seconds apart. Sokolsky added his second goal of the weekend, Held scored his third of the game and Chamberlain also scored.

When the dust cleared, Western had won 14-4 and scored as many goals in the game as Ryerson had scored in 10 games this season.

“Offensively, we’re doing things right,” Singer said. “There are still little things we need to work on. And we had 12 goals against [this weekend], so we need to focus on that.”

Western had nine different goal scorers, five players with four points and only three players without a point. This depth and balance is, and always has been, a trademark of Western hockey.

“That’s always been one of our strengths,” Singer said. “We’ve always had [balance] and on any given night anyone on this team can step up.”



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