Click through for a team-by-team rundown of the action in OUA West men's hockey...
Western (1st place, 7-2): The hottest team in the division stayed that way as the 'stangs tranquilized the York Lions 6-1 and bested the Waterloo Warriors 3-2 this past weekend to extend their win streak to 7 games, the second longest streak in Canada. On Thursday night, visiting York, the defending OUA champions ended the game almost before it even began. Their top-line scored three of the first period's four goals to chase Lion netminder David Blair out of his crease early. Both Keaton Turkiewicz and Aaron Snow had three points in the first period alone and along with Jaosn Furlong kept the pressure on York all night. The two teams' tempers got the better of them towards the end of the game with 9 roughing minors in the last period and a half to go with 3 slashing penalties and 2 10-minute misconducts. The next night, hosting the Waterloo Warriors, both teams were playing for first place in the OUA West, but Western was seeking revenge for a season-opener loss and would not be denied as Keaton Turkiewicz broke a 2-2 deadlock mid-way through the third to claim the win.
Lakehead (2nd place, 6-3): Lakehead had 14 goals for in two games against Laurier--terrific news for a program which had trouble scoring last season. But then Lakehead had 11 goals against in two games versus Laurier--horrible news for a program which has historically been very stingy. The Thunderwolves are certainly dynamic this year but all things considered they are still going in the right direction. Veteran Kris Hogg had 2 goals and 3 assists over the weekend to lead by example for a team that has found a nice balance of youth and age, rookie Victor Anilane continues to impress now with 6 goals and 7 assists on the year after adding to that tally this weekend. Although Lakehead is a program that has been inconsistent this year, it is still the program that nobody wants to play...ever...especially not in Thunder Bay. Their bipolar performance this weekend might be enough to push them back in the national rankings, but i think voters still need to be convinced a little more.
Laurier (3rd place, 6-2): Last time the Golden Hawks and Lakehead Thunderwolves met was a second-round playoff series last spring and each of the three games was decided by one goal...they sure seemed to do away with that trend this week. Game one saw the Thunderwolves thump the Hawks 10-4 in a penalty-plagued and rant-ridden game that should be quickly forgotten by any Hawk fan. However, Laurier returned the favour with a 7-4 victory the next night, bringing the two-game goal tally by the two teams to 25 (enough alliteration for you?). RMC transfer Paul Bradley had three goals and three assists over the two games to lead the Hawks as the star-forward seems to (finally) be finding his "stride" with a Hawks team that saw tumultuous turnover among the forwards over the offseason. Veteran netminder Jeff MacDougald was shelled for 4 goals in the first period after facing 24 shots and rookie netminder Ryan Daniels gave up 6 on 29 shots for the remainder of the game, a tough game for the rookie's confidence that he will have to bounce back from if Laurier has a chance of fairing well against the visiting McGill Redman and UQTR Patriotes this weekend (this will be the first time UQTR has visited Laurier since winning the Queen's Cup in 2006-07).
This past weekend saw the start of perhaps the most difficult stretch of games any team will have in the CIS this year. Laurier went away to Lakehead for two games, now must return for a game against the aforementioned powerhouses McGill and UQTR on Friday and Saturday, then has to travel to Ottawa for a Friday game against Carleton after which they must travel to North Bay and play Nipissing the very next night before finally returning home to host the Western Mustangs on a Thursday and then going to St. Catherines the next night to visit Brock on Friday. That's an awful lot of mileage and an awful lot of very, very good teams to play in such a short period of time.
Waterloo (4th place, 6-4): After a strong showing against the Western Mustangs the Warriors should have had an easy way with York, not so. A short-handed goal mid-way through the third by Chris Ray couldn't light a fire under the Warriors and they dropped a disappointing contest 3-1 to the Lions. The Warriors did give starter Keaton Hartigan a night off in favour of rookie (and all-name team star) John Zelenbaba. The hulking 6'6" netminder stopped 31 of 34 shots against, but you have to wonder at the end of the year if these sorts of contests come back to hurt the teams vying for the top spots in a crowded division.
Brock (5th place, 5-4): One of the pre-season darlings of the OUA, Brock has not been able to bring all their elements together quite as well as they should have. This weekend it was the goaltending that did them in. Mark Yetman surrendered 4 goals on just 14 shots against UOIT to put the Badgers in a hole they could not climb out of eventually losing the game 6-4. Game two of their series was unfortunately postponed due to the H1N1 virus; there have been confirmed cases among Badgers players having the illness so the game will be held at a later date, yet to be determined, and UOIT will still be the host.
York (6th place, 4-5): A bad loss and a good win headlined the weekend that was for York. The 6-1 loss to Western, with the only goal coming at 19:59 of the 2nd period was forgettable. The Lions did muster 30 shots on the 'stangs, but that was likely because Western sat back after a 4-goal first period. Jesse Grespan lead the Lions to their 3-1 surprise victory over the listless Waterloo Warriors: the junior forward found the net twice, including the game-winner and the win-sealer late in the 2nd and 3rd period respectively.
UOIT (7th place, 3-5): Ever heard of Kyle Wetering? Neither have the Brock Badgers...until Wednesday night. Wetering netted a hat-trick to pace UOIT to another impressive win over a seemingly superior opponent (their other wins coming against Lakehead and Waterloo) and was aided by Nathan Spaling who had 2 goals and 2 assists of his own. One has to wonder how the Ridgebacks, a relatively new program to the CIS, earns all of their wins against nationally ranked, or previously nationally ranked teams, yet can't even earn a .500 record. It must be frustrating to be a Ridgeback fan...if there are any.
Guelph (8th place, 2-7): The battle of the last place teams this past weekend solved nothing. Both Guelph and Windsor earned 2-1 victories that were less than thrilling. The Gryphons it seems have found their starting goalie, finally. Matt Smith played admirably in only allowing three goals over the two games despite facing 71 shots. Scott van Bommel will have to pull out some strong performances if he is to earn back the starting job, which was his at the start of the year. Interesting stat of the weekend? Game one only say 8 PIM for Guelph and 4 PIM for Windsor. Game two saw 28 for Guelph and 24 for Windsor. It's not much...but it's something.
Windsor (9th place, 2-7): Scott Gillis scored his first goals of the year over the weekend, the second of which was the game-winner in game two against Guelph. Outside of that there isn't much to report that hasn't already been said...netminder Jim Watt received back-to-back minors for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct in game two, not sure what got him so angry considering he played very well allowing just one goal on 28 shots.