Playoffs still possible after shootout win over 8th place Lancers

Morais pots winner, while Urlich stymies opposition

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs women's hockey

Laura Barclay

With the playoffs only a few weeks away, the Western Mustangs women’s hockey team came into Saturday’s game needing a win. The team had no room for error, needing to finish off their schedule with five straight wins to earn a playoff spot.

They got off to a good start, beating the visiting Windsor Lancers 2-1 in a shootout.

Windsor, also fighting for a playoff berth, came out strong in the first period and took the lead just five minutes into the game on the power play.

Windsor proceeded to outplay Western for the rest of the first and the majority of the second period. However, Mustangs goalie Jessica Ulrich managed to shut the door. She finished the game with 29 saves.

“Our team was the better team today. I thought we outmatched them in every aspect of the game,” Windsor assistant coach Brian Cunningham said. “We could have had more traffic going to the net for rebounds and maybe we would have been more successful.”

With their season down to one period, the Mustangs came out in the third on fire, out-shooting Windsor 19-10.

“We talked about how this was our season. We are in a tough situation to make the playoffs, which is our goal. The girls agreed in the dressing room that we needed to put a little more effort into it,” Western assistant coach Ted Brown said.

With a few minutes remaining, Windsor received another penalty, putting Western on their 11th power play. The puck found its way back to the point, where Western defenceman Meghan Hewins fired a hard shot towards the net. Though Tessier made the initial stop, Mustangs forward Brittany Buck swatted the puck into the net to tie the game at one apiece.

After overtime settled nothing, the teams headed for a shootout. Ulrich shut down all of Windsor’s shooters and Mustangs forward Chantal Morais slide the puck through Tessier’s legs, giving Western the win.

Naturally, a game of this magnitude brought with it some controversy. Throughout the game, Windsor’s bench was up in arms over the repeated penalties they were assessed. The amount of Lancer penalties in the second and third periods put Western back in the game.

“Unfortunately, we spent the majority of the game in the box. It’s hard to get momentum when you are in the box for that long,” Cunningham said.

As has been the case all season, Western managed to play very well defensively while struggling to score.

“We are a very good defensive team. Obviously, with the forwards not scoring as much, there is pressure to perform for the goaltenders, but that is going to happen every game,” Ulrich said.

“We play a defensive system and everyone contributes to it. It starts from the goaltender out. We have to get more pucks to the net and the goals will come,” Brown added.

Western now heads to Guelph and St. Catharines to take on the Gryphons and the Brock Badgers before returning home to play UOIT and Queen’s to finish off the season.

“We all know what we have to do. We now just have to execute, get more shots and play smart,” Ulrich said.

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