The Western Mustangs men’s hockey team extended their winning streak to 13 games after hosting the UOIT Ridgebacks this past Saturday. Though evenly matched throughout the first half of the game, secondary scoring and a phenomenal performance from goalie Josh Unice allowed the Mustangs to come out on top with a 7–1 win.
The win has Western at a record of 15–3, while UOIT drops to 7–10. The Mustangs also moved into third place in the Canada Interuniversity Sport rankings with the win.
The Ridgebacks dominated the first period, but despite out-shooting the Mustangs at the first intermission, the score was tied at one apiece. The Mustangs took control in the second with Zach Harnden netting the eventual game-winner. The Furlong brothers also contributed, with a goal by Shaun Furlong, assisted by Jason Furlong and Andrew Eastman.
In the third period, Western had four more different players score, with Matt Paltridge, Julian Cimadamore, Adam Stoykewych and Ryan Kirk each finding the back of the net. Kirk’s goal was particularly special, this being his first of the season.
Kirk had faltered on a breakaway chance with Ridgebacks goalie Bryce O’Hagan turning the puck aside. Kirk regained control and made no mistake the second time around, wristing a shot over O’Hagan’s shoulder into the top corner.
“Well, I was pretty much just thinking about the one I missed before that. I knew I had to get it that time around because I wasn’t sure I was going to get another chance,” Kirk said with a smile on his face, especially proud since his friends and family were in the crowd to witness it.
Kirk also caught the eye of the Western interim coach Pat Powers.
“It’s great for a guy like Kirk. He’s come a long way this year and the guys were extremely happy as you probably saw by looking at the bench,” he said.
With seven different players scoring the seven Mustang goals and 11 players on the point sheet, the Mustangs showed amazing depth and put on a great display of teamwork and camaraderie.
“We got everyone’s A-plus effort and we expected nothing less than to get the win tonight,” Powers said.
Unice put on an impressive display, stopping 29 of 30 shots. The sole goal by UOIT was scored off a shot from the point that sailed over Unice’s head and hit the crossbar, deflecting the puck into the net. Unice currently leads the CIS with 13 wins.
Western goes on the road for their next four games, and plays for their 14th win against the Waterloo Warriors tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.