The red-hot Western Mustangs' men's hockey team extended their winning streak to seven on Thursday night with a dominant 6–2 win against the Laurier Golden Hawks at Thompson Arena.
The Mustangs have not lost a game since the new year and are 7–0–0 with Luke Peressini back between the pipes.
“That’s the kind of play we expected from him; he gives you a chance to win every night,” said Mustangs assistant coach Patrick Ouellet.
Less than a minute into the game, Cordell James caught the Hawks' defenders flat-footed and buried home a rebound to give the Mustangs an early lead.
“We just want to keep playing the way we’ve been playing; if we keep rolling like this going into the playoffs, we’ll be a top team to beat,” said James.
David Eccles made a tremendous defensive play by laying his entire body out onto the ice to break up a two-on-one scoring opportunity.
Halfway through the first period, Laurier’s Christian Mroczkowski was assessed a two-minute penalty for cross-checking Ray Huether. Huether went to the locker room and did not finish the period.
It was a back-and-forth period that ended with a 1–0 Western lead at the end of 20 minutes of play. Peressini made several aggressive plays on the puck which resulted in some excellent opportunities at the other end of the ice.
The Mustangs didn’t let their foot off the gas in the second period, and the Hawks seemed to struggle under the offensive pressure.
The high-intensity play paid off with another early goal, this time scored by Western’s Ray Huether, who returned to the game in a dramatic fashion with a tip in front of the net that went up-and-over the left shoulder of the Golden Hawks netminder, Colin Furlong.
At the other end of the ice, Peressini slid across the crease to make a sprawling kick pad save and preserve the lead.
James scored again to extend the Mustangs goal differential to three at 11:49 in the second period.
“I was able to bust down the wall, and I saw an opening there and was able to get it in," said James on his second goal of the game.
Golden Hawks' Chris Festarini replaced Colin Furlong in net after Furlong was forced to leave the game due to an injury he sustained after a rush that sent players from both teams sliding into the net.
After 40 minutes of play, Western had a three-goal lead heading into the final period of play.
Laurier's Neil Aird was able to put his team on the board two minutes into the third making it 3–1.
However, less than 30 seconds later, Mustangs' forward Mitchell Fitzmorris answered back with a goal — assisted by Huether — to make it 4–1.
The back-and-forth continued, but Western’s offensive dominance persisted, and the game ended with a final score of 6–2.
The win brings Western’s win percentage to .500 with a record of 11–9–2.
Next, the Mustangs will look to keep their hot-streak alive against Brock University on Saturday, Jan. 27, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m at Thompson Arena.