Guilbault’s two goals lead 'Wolves to 4-1 win

Hockey teams split Saturday contests at JLC

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs men's hockey

Jonas Hrebeniuk

ACTION BUSIER THAN HEATHROW AIRPORT. The men and women’s hockey teams were in the spotlight this weekend, clashing with division rivals at the John Labatt Centre. The men were on the wrong side of a 4-1 result versus Lakehead, while the women’s team kept its playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over Waterloo.

Going into Saturday night’s game against the Lakehead Thunderwolves, the Western Mustangs men’s hockey team already locked up second place in the Ontario University Athletics Far West division. With a first round playoff match-up against the York Lions looming next week, it seemed the team was caught looking too far ahead.

The Mustangs fell 4-1 to the visitors in the first annual AMJ Campbell Challenge Cup.

The Thunderwolves were led by OUA leading scorer Dan Speer. Speer notched the game-winning goal to go along with two assists. Pierre-Marc Guilbault added two while Mark Soares scored the other Lakehead goal. Jacob King had the only answer for Western.

“Games like this, going into the playoffs are huge. I think this was our 11th win in a row. You can’t take games like these lightly, especially when playing a solid team like Western, so I was really happy our team was able to get the two points tonight,” Speer said.

Once again the Mustangs failed to get off to a good start and were dominated in the first period, being outshot 14-6. Bad giveaways and failed clearances led to two goals in the opening period for Lakehead.

The first came on the powerplay with Guilbault putting in a backhand shot after collecting a clearance attempt in the slot. The second came after Western blueliner Matt Manias’ clearing attempt hit goalie Brad Topping and bounced out to Speer, who backhanded the shot into the top corner.

“I thought we played OK tonight. We had a bad first and third period, but we played really well in the second,” Western head coach Clarke Singer said.

“We have to do a better job cycling, getting the puck back to our defencemen and getting shots to the net. We aren’t going to beat a good team like Lakehead with only one goal. We need to score three or four to win.”

Western got some shots through in the second period, creating several chances. The squad finally broke through, making the score 2-1, when Marcus Smith blasted a shot from the point. Lakehead goalie Kyle Moir made the save, but King buried the rebound.

However, the game unraveled for the Mustangs at the start of the third period. Just 35 seconds in, Lakehead capitalized on a powerplay after a pass in front for Speer was deflected in by Soares.

All momentum Western had from the second frame was gone, as it failed to get a shot on net for the first 10 minutes of the third.

Guilbault added his second powerplay goal later in the period to finish off the game. Lakehead finished three for five on the powerplay.

“We’ve been operating at about 25 per cent since Christmas and we really wanted to keep it going. When you are on a roll like that, it’s easy to get the goals,” Lakehead coach Don McKee said.

The other defensive problems for Western were dealing with odd-man rushes and the speed of the Lakehead forwards. This speed led to several Thunderwolves chances.

“We need to do a better job picking up guys, especially the defencemen who join the rush. We also have to close down the shots on the rush,” Singer said. “We failed to get the puck out when we had it, and they scored. That’s how they got the first two.”

While Moir stopped 24 of 25 shots, Topping had a tough game, giving up four goals on 34 shots.

“We didn’t play too bad, but we failed to capitalize on our chances,” Topping said. “I played alright but I can’t let four goals in. I have to bear down and make those big saves, especially in the third with the game so close.”

After losing to Lakehead three times this season, Western rebounded on Sunday with a 4-2 victory over the Thunderwolves at Thompson Arena. Rookie goalie Keyvan Hunt had 36 saves in the victory.

Playoffs begin on Feb. 14 at Thompson Arena, as Western hosts the York Lions at 7 p.m.

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