Mustangs sweep York in OUA West semis

Singer: team must be ready for tougher competition in finals

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A fight breaks out

Shaun Ding

HE WAS TALKIN' WHEN HE SHOULD'A BEEN LISTENIN'. Mustangs defenceman Ryan Martinelli lands a shot on a York player during Saturday night’s OUA West semi-final hockey game at Thompson Arena.

This past Saturday night, the Western Mustangs brought out the brooms and defeated the York Lions 3-2 in front of a packed house at Thompson Arena to sweep the Ontario University Athletics West division semifinal.

“I think most importantly, we got the puck in deep against these guys and did a good job playing defensively,” Mustangs head coach Clarke Singer said.

The Mustangs came out flying as left-winger Aaron Snow tapped in a rebound given up by York goaltender David Davenport less than three minutes into the opening frame.

The offence didn’t stop there.

The Mustangs added to their lead with four minutes remaining in the first.

Western right-winger Keaton Turkiewicz made a drop pass to Yashar Farmanara, who hit the top shelf to give the Mustangs a 2-0 advantage.

“We wanted to play down below the goal line, create scoring chances and make their defence turn and work,” York head coach Jim Wells said. “We didn’t do that the first period.”

After some motivational words at the intermission, York wasted no time responding to the Mustangs offence, tying the game just after the halfway mark of the second period.

“We went out and tried to hit Western and change the momentum,” Wells said.

The Lions’ first goal came within five minutes as York forward Nathaniel Brooks fed Jerry Clark for a one-time slap shot that beat Mustangs goaltender Brad Topping down low.

About five minutes later, York forward Tyler Harisson put home a wrist shot over Topping’s glove.

“The way we came back is just shear hard work and shear will,” Wells said.

“We had the 2-0 lead going into the second and we just didn’t seem to have the mental edge and they came back,” Singer said. “York’s a good team and we sort of got sloppy with some of our puck management and with our positioning defensively.”

After losing momentum and starting the third tied, the Mustangs knew they had to get back on track.

“I think we knew what we had to do. We didn’t have a great second period,” Mustangs centre Kevin Baker said. “We just had to win one [more] period to win the game and win the series.”

Only 48 seconds into the final frame, Baker tallied on a rebound after Turkiewicz was initially stopped by Davenport’s pads.

Despite having the 3-2 lead, the Mustangs’ toughest challenge was yet to come.

Shortly after the goal, Western got into penalty trouble, as both Snow and left-winger Jeff Martens were sent to the box within 35 seconds of each other.

Despite throwing several shots on goal, key blocks from defenceman Adam Nemeth and timely saves from Topping allowed Western to kill off the York five-on-three with the lead still intact.

“As a coach, the frustration truly sets in when the players don’t execute and we did everything right,” Wells said. “We created scoring chances. We created shots on net and Topping was outstanding.”

“It felt very good,” Baker said in reference to his game-winning goal. “It’s huge going into the third round now. We’re that much closer to going to nationals.”

The Mustangs, for the first time since their 2005 OUA championship, now move on to the OUA West final against the Laurier Golden Hawks.

“They’re going to be better than either team we’ve faced so far,” Singer said. “So we have to make sure we’re ready for it.”

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