The Mustangs men’s hockey team entered the weekend missing six players who were away playing at the Winter Universiade. In a spirited contest against the Windsor Lancers, the Mustangs pulled off a 4-3 victory in what could be described as a character win.
“We’re short handed as it is,” Mustangs assistant coach Pat Powers said. “The guys battled hard and persevered through a lot of the adversity that they faced tonight.”
Timely goals propelled the Mustangs to victory, after the Lancers scored the opening goal in the first period, Josh McQuade responded for Western less than three minutes later.
Jason Furlong followed up for the Mustangs with a great individual effort putting in his own rebound to give the Mustangs the lead halfway through the first.
The Lancers evened it up with five minutes left in the period, but Steve Reese responded for Western less than a minute later after a Lancer turnover, giving the Mustangs the 3-2 lead after the first frame.
“We made some errors in the neutral zone that we can’t make,” Lancers coach Kevin Hamlin said. “Good players capitalize and that’s exactly what they did.”
After Windsor tied the game in the second period, the Lancers committed a costly neutral zone turnover leading to an odd man rush for the Mustangs. Kyle Lamb capitalized on a dazzling passing play to seal the victory for Western.
After the game, coach Hamlin expressed frustration over Windsor’s inability to generate quality chances. He praised Western’s strong defense that has propelled the Mustangs to the top of the Ontario University Athletics west conference standings.
“The bottom line is we couldn’t get after their goalie,” Hamlin said. “There’s no question that the weakest part of their team is their net minder, but its tough to get to him and that’s a credit to their defense. For them to play that well in front of him with the guys that they have out of the lineup, it speaks well to their depth.”
With the strong season they are having, players are setting their sights on winning nationals. However, Powers insists that it’s too early to be thinking that far ahead.
“We’re not really preparing for nationals right now,” Powers said. “We have a lot of tough teams in our division that we have to worry about first. We have three tough rounds to get through before we can think about the nationals. Once we get our team back together, we’ll see what happens.”