March 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 85  

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Lakehead Thunderwolves

RECORD: 18-4-2-0
(Second place in Far West Division)
PLAYOFFS: Defeated the University of Waterloo 2-0 in divisional semi-final; defeated Western in divisional championship 2-1.

The Lakehead Thunderwolves’ 2003/04 season has been eerily similar to the season they experienced last year.

Earning a regular season record that differs from last season’s by only two points, Lakehead once again returns to the Queen’s Cup on the strength of a thrilling divisional win over Western, and once again will face the York Lions in the tournament’s semi-final.

An older and more experienced squad, this year’s Thunderwolves will try to avoid the mistakes of last year.

“This season was basically a mirror image of last season,” says Lakehead head coach Pete Belliveau. “Last season we got wrapped up in our win over Western, and as a result weren’t ready for York. This season we know there’s a lot of hockey left to be played.”

With a roster that features six Ontario University Athletics West All-Stars, including West Division Most Valuable Player Jeff Richards, the T-Wolves seem as good a bet as anyone to play a lot more hockey.

Aside from their stars, Lakehead has enjoyed success on the strength of a great supporting cast of role players and unsung heroes.

“We’ve played games where Richards and our top line haven’t been going,” Belliveau explains. “The key is that we’ve had guys like Matt Kenny and Erik Lodge step up.”

Coming from Thunder Bay, a community that can be described as nothing short of crazed when it comes to Thunderwolves hockey, Lakehead will try to live up to their fans’ lofty expectations.

“There was a lot of pressure on us to win [last weekend],” Belliveau says. “We showed perseverance and came through, and we gained a lot of confidence in the process.”

Ranked third in the nation, the Thunderwolves are heavily favoured to reach the finals after beating York in their two regular season contests by a combined score of 17-5.

“As long as we play good defensively and stick to our plan, we have as good a chance as anyone,” Belliveau adds.

–Aron Yeomanson



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