OUA West Hockey: Mustangs sweep Thunderwolves, Gryphons inspire annoyed groans

A battle between two CIS top-ten teams, who just happen to be hated rivals. A season-ending injury. A missed penalty shot from defencemen Scott Aarssen of all people. And a shiny little trophy called the Jack Frost Cup to cap it all off (...nobody knows what that is, so don’t worry if you feel out of the loop).

Any time Lakehead and Western lock horns, it is a treat for everyone. They meet in the playoffs almost every year – Lakehead knocks Western out almost every year, including their two-game sweep last year.

If that wasn’t enough, the two teams were separated by just four points in the OUA West division–possibly the best division in Canada? (It’s not, but it’s still pretty good). Sounds like a good weekend of hockey to me.

As crucial as this series was to Lakehead, it was absolutely imperative that Western sweep it. If you remember back to last season, Western started its two-month collapse around this time, finishing fourth in the OUA and missing out on nationals. It was pretty obvious why they fell off the map – goaltender Anthony Grieco sustained a season-ending injury and backup Josh Unice simply wasn’t ready after just joining the team.

Plus the Mustangs are losing key seven players and their coach to the Canadian team at the Winter Universiade for a couple weeks.

So with their biggest test at a crucial point of the season coming to town, what do these two goaltenders do? Combine to stop 62 of 64 shots this Lakehead team threw at them. We aren’t talking about a York-level offence here. Lakehead was first in the West with 90 goals coming into the weekend series.

They have been doing it all season too – Grieco is fourth in the OUA in goals against average, with Unice sitting right behind. They have .929 and .920 save percentage respectively. Those are Ryan Daniels-type numbers right there.

How good do you think it feels for Clarke Singer to be able to throw either goalie in net and know he is, at worst, going to give up a couple goals?

However, these two netminders must keep it up for the rest of the season. Former Dallas Stars draft pick Aaron Snow, who just came back from injury, hit hard and knocked out of the game – he is done for the season too, with a badly sprained knee.

Snow has been one of the top three scorers on the Mustangs – and one of the highest scorers in the OUA – the past two seasons on a line with Keaton Turkiewicz. That kind of scoring is hard to replace.

In other words, I can’t stress how important this lead over the Thunderwolves and Laurier Golden Hawks is because you better believe they will both be on fire as the playoffs draw closer.

But as the old clich̩ goes: defence Рand goaltending Рwins championships. So if the Mustangs plan on making a run back to the national championship game, these two better be ready to shoulder the load.

Thursday, January 13

Brock 1-0 Guelph

Goal Scorers
Brock: Adam Schwark

Brock: Kurt Jory - 39 saves
Guelph: Andrew Loverrock - 20 saves

  • Guelph simply cannot get their season straight. They either can't score or can't stop anybody. So much for that preseason contender label.
  • Brock is pretty much Kurt Jory and Matt Abercrombie. If they don't show up, they don't win. Luckily for them, Jory showed up.
Players of the Game
  • Kurt Jory is clearly the player of the game for Brock with the shutout.
  • I don't even want to name a player, but I suppose I have to. Lets go with Loverrock, who I guess didn't have a bad day.

Laurier 5-2 York

Goal Scorers
Laurier: Zackory Ray, Ryan Bellows, Thomas Middup (2), Mitchell Good
York: Chad Hohmann, Adam Stuart

Laurier: Ryan Daniels - 36 saves
York: Travis Rolheiser - 30 saves
  • Here come the Hawks. They are doing enough to win and that is all that matters. They followed up an upset on the road over Western with a solid win over the lowly Lions. They now move into second place in the West.
  • Well, it isn't like we expected more from these guys, who sit firmly at the bottom of the heap. On the bright side, they aren't RMC.
Players of the Game
  • Can I give the player of the game to Ryan Daniels every game? No? Ok, then Thomas Middup scored two, so that will have to do.
  • I'll give them this, York is chock full of rookies, so there were bound to be growing pains. Chad Hohmann has been a bright spot, coming in at second in team scoring -- albeit with 12 points.

Friday, January 14

Windsor 4-0 Brock

Goal Scorers
Windsor: Steve Ferry, Scott Gillis, Kyle Nishizaki, Mike Lombardi

Brock: Kurt Jory - 21 saves
Windsor: Jim Watt - 35 saves

  • This is as good a way as any to break a four-game losing streak. They finally gave Watt a little help with four goals. Hopefully, Ferry, Gillis and Nishizaki can keep the goals coming, as they combined for four before this game.
  • Remember when I said if Jory or Ambercrombie didn't show up, Brock wouldn't win. Well, guess what happened in this one?
Players of the Game
  • Watt as always was fantastic for Windsor. They are going to miss him when he is away at the Universiade. He has been great since day one.
  • Nobody. They took too many penalties, Jory had a bad game, and they couldn't do anything against Watt. Any self-professed defensive team shouldn't give up four to Windsor.

Waterloo 3-2 UOIT

Goal Scorers
Waterloo: Andy Smith, Tyler Moir, Chris Ray
UOIT: Nathan Spaling, Mike Noyes

Waterloo: Keaton Hartigan- 29 saves
UOIT: Jason Guy - 26 saves
  • I don't know what to make of Waterloo. They win more often then not, but it's rarely pretty. Plus they lose to bad teams, like their last three against Brock, Guelph and York -- Yikes. But good for them to pull this one out in the third.
  • They are still a young team. Perhaps with a couple more years under their belt they will move up the rankings. They are already competing hard with teams like Windsor and Brock, but they also give the top tier lots of trouble.
Players of the Game
  • Chris Ray does it all for this team. He scores key goals, he creates them. He leads the team in points. Easily their best offensive player.
  • For pretty much the same reason, Nathan Spaling for UOIT. Ok, he doesn't really score goals, but he creates them for his linemates. He is responsible for a good portion of this team's goals for the past two seasons.

Saturday, January 14

York 5-4 UOIT

Goal Scorers
York: Ben Rubin, Chad Hohmann, Rhys Thornton, Mackenzie Micks, Adam Stuart
UOIT: Scott Baker, Kyle Wetering (2), Kevin George

York: David Blair - 24 saves
UOIT: Jason Guy - 23 saves, Jeff Dawson - 10 saves

  • They rebounded nicely from a shutout loss to UOIT the week before, putting five past Jason Guy. Nice for a young team to show that kind of fight.
  • On the flip-side, Jason Guy did UOIT no favours. They need him to limit the opposition to have any chance, because four goals is way above the norm for them. He dropped the ball.
Players of the Game
  • Jaskirat Gill created three goals for York. This team has 46 goals on the season after this game. Creating three goals for York is a big deal.
  • Kyle Wetering is one of the other stars for UOIT. He played like it with two goals and an assist. His seven goals puts him second in team scoring.

Windsor 3-2 Guelph

Goal Scorers
Windsor: Brett Vandehogen, Steve Ferry, Mike Lombardi
Guelph: Kris Belan, Zach Lillie

Windsor: Jim Watt - 37 saves
Guelph: Andrew Loverrock - 44 saves
  • Watt does it again I suppose. But how about Mike Lombardi? Nobody talks about him, yet he has 20 points, leads the team in scoring by a mile and is on a four-game goal scoring streak.
  • The best way to describe Guelph is with an annoyed groan. They are far too talented on paper to be in seventh in the West. Come on guys.
Players of the Game
  • As good as Watt was, Lombardi kept his streak alive and scored the winner. Vandehogen deserves some credit for his work on the powerplay, scoring and assisting on man advantage goals in the first.
  • Give credit where credit it due. Loverrock got no help. His team scored twice and allowed 47 shots on goal, spotting Windsor a 3-0 lead in the process. Maybe if they played 60 minutes they might have a shot. You guys aren't the Russian Juniors.
Waterloo 3-2 Laurier
Goal Scorers
Waterloo: Ryan Molle, Thomas Cardiff, Tyler Moir
Laurier: Ryan Bellows (2)

Waterloo: Keaton Hartigan - 32 saves
Laurier: Ryan Daniels - 43 saves

  • They barely beat UOIT but come from behind to knock off one of the hottest teams in the OUA in the Golden Hawks. Like I said, I can't figure out the Warriors.
  • It's tough to win when you are outplayed so badly in a single period, namely the second period. Plus they need to get more scoring from guys not named Ryan Bellows, Jean-Michel Rizk and Thomas Middup. They have combined for 30 of Laurier's 74 goals. Good for them, but not for the team.
Players of the Game
  • Tyler Moir is second in team scoring -- as a rookie. Scoring the winner just after Waterloo tied it and with less than a minute left in the second is a huge boost for the Warriors.
  • Ryan Bellows has been the majority of the offence and that trend continued as he scored his team's only two of the game.
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  1. I'm surprised about Guelph this season. They were decent at the UNB Fall Classic tournament, and showed a lot of potential.

  2. Couldn't agree more David. I saw them toward the end of last season and felt they could be a scary team this year.

    I knew they were having a bad season, but then I looked at the standings halfway through last week and was shocked to see how far away from the lead pack they were. I felt I was being generous just going with an annoyed groan.