Western sweeps York Lions: Mustangs to face Brock Badgers in round two

Rookie Keyvan Hunt nets both wins

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs men's hockey

Jonas Hrebeniuk

Last Thursday night, the Western Mustangs began their Ontario University Athletics playoff run with a bang.

Backed by a sensational postseason debut by rookie goaltender Keyvan Hunt, the men’s hockey team easily dismantled the York Lions 5-1 in game one of the best-of-three series at Thompson Arena.

“We’re used to playing these short series, these two on threes,” Mustangs assistant coach Cam O’Donnell said. “We do it every year, and winning the first game is huge. Especially if you’ve got home-ice advantage, you can’t get down 1-0.”

In the first period, the Mustangs pressured York in the offensive zone, but could only manage one goal.

Western broke the scoreless draw on the power play just over halfway through the period, as Matt Manias and Kevin Richardson set up Sal Peralta, and put the home side up 1-0 going into the intermission.

When the second frame began, the Mustangs’ attack continued instantly. In the first few seconds of the period, the forward unit went hard to the net and was rewarded. Jesse Boucher scored on the second rebound, putting the puck stick-side past Lions’ goalie Devin Ramasawmy after Kyle Piwowarczyk fanned on Jeff Martens’ original shot.

The Mustangs then got into penalty trouble as goaltender Hunt was given two minutes for interference, and Boucher was sent off for holding, which gave York a two-man advantage and left the 2-0 lead vulnerable.

However, Hunt stoned the Lions, making some terrific saves and eliminating York’s best opportunity for a comeback.

“Any time you can kill off a 5-on-3 it’s going to usually be a turning point in the game,” O’Donnell said. “Very often you’re going to get goals scored on you. Once they did get in we limited their time on the 5-on-3 and Keyvan came up and made a couple of really big saves.”

York head coach Bill Maguire knew his team needed a better performance at that critical point in the contest.

“The whole bottom line was we didn’t have it, and it showed on that power play,” he said.

In the third, the Mustangs ran up the score as Richardson scored at even strength and Manias recorded a short-handed tally, giving the Mustangs a 4-0 lead less than five minutes into the period.

York immediately called a timeout to try and slow the Mustangs’ momentum. Jake Van Allen scored the visitors’ lone goal about five minutes later. Only 19 seconds after, the Mustangs responded, as Ryan Martinelli restored the four-goal lead, finally putting the game out of reach. Hunt had 29 saves in the victory.

Maguire praised Western’s efforts.

“You have to compete harder than the other team,” he said. “They wanted it more tonight. They chipped it by us, they dumped it in, they played the body. They did what we have to do.”

O’Donnell echoed the concept.

“We knew if we could keep the puck moving north out of our zone that we would really negate their forecheck pressure and things would open up for us; they really did a good job doing that tonight,” he said.

“We put a lot of pressure on our guys to perform well in the opening game and they came through great tonight; it’s huge for us.”

After the win, the Mustangs travelled to North York on Saturday to play game two at the Beatrice Ice Gardens. The Purple and Silver defeated York 6-1 and swept the best-of-three series.

Netminder Hunt once again got the win. The Mustangs now move on to the OUA West semi-final against the Brock Badgers. Game one is tonight in St. Catharines at 7:30 p.m.

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