Hawks lock Mustangs in stable in their own barn

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western women's hockey

Jonas Hrebeniuk

WE'RE SEEING SOME BUTTERFLY, AND WE'RE NOT TALKING MARIAH CAREY. Despite a solid effort from netminder Danielle Le Ber, the women's hockey team was on the wrong end of a 4-0 score at home versus the Laurier Golden Hawks.

The Western women’s hockey team extended its losing streak to four games this past weekend with a 4-0 loss to the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks, who currently sit atop the Ontario University Athletics standings with 23 points.

The first period showcased strong play from Western goaltender Danielle Le Ber, who held the Golden Hawks off the scoreboard despite facing 14 shots. The Mustangs tallied just two shots on goal as the period concluded with no score.

Both teams took to the second frame with a competitive force to keep the game at a standstill until the period’s halfway mark. Laurier’s Vanessa Ley shelved the first goal to give the Golden Hawks a 1-0 lead at 10:32 into the second period.

“Our first goal today was hugely important for us,” Laurier head coach Richard Osborne said. “Western plays pretty tough in their own zone and they know how to play well in their own building. We really wanted to get on the board early to put them on the defensive.”

The Mustangs continued to push Laurier off the puck to create some scoring chances late in the second period. They could not capitalize, though, and finished the period down by one.

“For the first two periods we were really getting on them,” Western defenceman Leigh Trimm-Combes said. “We were really pressuring them in their own end.”

The third period was a different story, as the Golden Hawks quickly sailed a shot past Le Ber to up the score to 2-0. The goal quickly deflated Western’s hustle.

“When [Western] had to gamble to get back in the game, we capitalized,” Osborne said.

“Our focus was to play with a winning, positive attitude,” Western head coach Paul Cook said. “We did that for more than two periods, but their second goal took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”

The Golden Hawks tallied two more points later in the third period to round out the score at 4-0.

Meanwhile, the Mustangs just couldn’t solve Laurier’s defence.

“We were against a very physical team,” Osborne said. “Regardless of Western’s record, they always battle us very tough. I was pleased with our team for shutting down their big play.”

Cook explained the team’s inconsistency through three periods of play.

“We went in with a simple game plan with the things we wanted to do,” Cook said. “When we did them, we played awesome. But then we also fell apart at times. You can’t let that happen because [Laurier] is not a good team by accident.”

Having completed about a month of play, the Mustangs face their longest losing streak yet. The ’Stangs were in rough shape coming into Sunday’s game against Laurier, and their troubles were not far enough behind them.

“It’s sort of a confidence thing,” Cook explained. “It’s tough. You try and do the best you can, but you struggle. Right now we really have confidence issues.”

The Mustangs host both the Queen’s Golden Gaels and the Ontario Institute of Technology this coming weekend at Thompson Arena, and hope to improve on past mistakes.

“We want to play 60-minute hockey,” Trimm-Combes said. “We’ve been playing two periods " or 40-minute hockey " but we want to be able to stick it out and pick up those points.”

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