Snow snipes two as 'Stangs advance to OUA semis

Topping stops 34 on way to dominant win over Gryphons

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Hockey faceoff

Ryan Hendrick

JUST DROP THE BLOODY PUCK. Mustangs centre Kyle Lamb eagerly anticipates a faceoff in Sunday night’s playoff game against the Guelph Gryphons. The ’Stangs defeated the visitors 4-1, moving on to the OUA West semi-final against the York Lions.

Rookie forward Aaron Snow has been scoring big goals all season. Sunday night he added two more as well as a helper in his team’s 4-1 playoff victory over the Guelph Gryphons at Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre.

Following Saturday night’s disappointing overtime loss in Guelph, the Mustangs took a back-to-basics approach for the third and final game of the Ontario University Athletics Far West division quarter-final series.

“One of the things we think we didn’t do as good last night was we didn’t have as good a team effort as we had tonight,” Mustangs head coach Clarke Singer said.

“One of [the] fortés of us all year is that we’ve got a 20 man effort ... that’s how we have success ... all 20 guys going hard and tonight everyone in our lineup [was] going hard and [we had] a great team effort right throughout.”

Flying out of the gate, Snow scored his first of the night just over five minutes into the first frame from a seemingly impossible angle.

Straddling the goal line, Snow banked the puck off the Gryphons goaltender to put his team ahead early on.

Despite the Mustangs’ balanced team effort, Guelph assistant coach Chris Clancy identified his team’s inability to keep up with Western’s top guns.

“Their top line played really well tonight, that was pretty much the difference. We didn’t have an answer back for that. Good on them, they played really hard and battled through,” he said.

Shot at goal

“We just wanted to stick to our game plan and we were able to get the early lead,” Mustangs captain Sal Peralta said. “They came back but we kept our cool and played our game and things paid off.”

After Guelph knotted the game up late in the first, Western went ahead in the second, scoring two goals within four minutes of each other " giving Western a 3-1 lead.

In marked contrast to the first two games of the series, officiating did not play a factor in the game as there were only four minors handed out before the 15 minute mark of the third, when Gryphons forward Kris Belan instigated a dust-up in the Mustangs end.

After cooler heads prevailed, 28 penalty minutes had been handed out as Mustang forward Kyle Lamb and Belan headed in for an early shower after receiving 10-minute misconducts.

“That was our opportunity,” Clancy said. “We worked hard to draw the penalties and we had chances but didn’t execute on the power play and that ended up being the difference.”

As time wound down, Snow added an insurance marker " his second goal of the night " to put the game out of reach.

Looking forward to the OUA West semi-final series against York, Singer emphasized the need to remain tight defensively.

“Well we need to continue to be a little more consistent. York is a very offensive team, they have a lot of good offensive players who do a good job and [we need to] make sure we continue to play good defence,” he said.

After sticking with goaltender Brad Topping throughout the Guelph series, Singer plans on keeping the fourth-year veteran between the pipes.

“I think [Topping] had a great series and we’re hoping he can win another one for us,” he said.

The Mustangs open their next series on the road this Thursday at York before coming back to Thompson Arena for a Saturday night game at 7:30 p.m. Student tickets are available at the Mustangs box office in Alumni Hall for $5.
" with files from Ravi Amarnath

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