Shootout ends in Mustangs victory over Golden Hawks

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs men's hockey

Jonas Hrebeniuk

TIED UP LIKE MARSELLUS WALLACE AT ZED'S MERCY. The men's hockey team came out on the right side of an absolute blood-match versus the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks this past weekend, prevailing 6-5 in a shootout.

This past Saturday night, Western Mustangs right wing Jeff Martens ended a game that seemed like it would never end.

In what turned into an intense, physical matchup with the Laurier Golden Hawks, Martens scored the winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout, to complete the men’s hockey team’s 6-5 comeback victory at Thompson Arena.

“It’s all about character,” Mustangs assistant coach Cam O’Donnell said. “If you take your foot off the pedal at any time against any of the teams in our division, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”

Six goals were scored in the first period, as the teams went at it end-to-end. Laurier got on the board first when Nathan Peacock put a rebound behind Western’s starting goalie Keyvan Hunt, just over seven and a half minutes into the game.

Soon after, Laurier struck again in a 4-on-4 session, as Luke Girard scored off of a Rob Dmytruk shot attempt where Hunt had no chance.

“We wanted to play a solid defensive game because they’re a pretty dynamic team,” O’Donnell said. “I give us about a C+ on that. You know we got in a lot of trouble in the first period, and got down a couple of goals.”

With the pressure on Western to get back in the game, the team struck back on the power play. With the Golden Hawks’ Matthew Grennier in the box for holding, Sal Peralta scored on a perfect wrist shot from the point near the end of the first period.

The first ended with a 4-2 score in favour of the visitors. Martens scored the Mustangs’ second goal, finishing off an amazing tic-tac-toe passing play with Peralta and Ryan Hare.

When the teams returned to the ice, Hunt was pulled in favour of Brad Topping.

“It’s not Keyvan’s fault,” Topping said. “I came in, and I just wanted to give the team a chance to get back into the game.”

In a physical second period, five penalties were assessed in the first seven minutes of play.

“We wanted to try to wear them down a little bit tonight,” Laurier head coach Kelly Nobes said.

As the penalty box filled, both teams tried to gain momentum. However, no damage was done until the last minute of play. With 47 seconds remaining, and facing a possible two-goal deficit to start the third, Mustangs forward Kevin Richardson scored to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Laurier added one last goal in the third, the only one to get past Topping, and then the Mustangs comeback began.

Kyle Piwowarczyk made it 5-4 and Richardson added his second of the game with under six minutes to go to tie it up.

Nobes admired the Mustangs’ efforts.

“They’re a good hockey team. They kept coming and they didn’t give up. They were relentless,” he said. “We had a 5-3 lead with six and a half minutes to go and really you should win those games.”

The five-minute overtime featured exciting action at both ends but solved nothing.

The shootout that followed lasted six rounds and 12 shooters before Martens’ wrister hit the top shelf of the Laurier net and ended the game. The goal was a relief for the Mustangs and capped off a big win.

“I know there’s only one ‘G’ in ‘huge,’ but I might have to put two in after tonight’s game. This was a really big game,” O’Donnell said. “They’re a very good hockey team and for us to come out with a win tonight in this interdivision game was just incredibly huge.”

Topping agreed with O’Donnell.

“It’s definitely a huge win. Our goal coming in this weekend was to get six points [and] there’s not too many games left and anytime we can pick up extra points on teams in our division, it’s a bonus,” he said.

With the win, the Mustangs hold on to their second-place position in Ontario University Athletics, Far West division.

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