(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
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
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.