Tensions Flare as Mustangs Continue Hot Streak
Western Mustangs Men's HockeyRachael Bishop
The Western Mustangs men’s hockey team continued their hot streak with a 5-1 win over the rival Windsor Lancers on Thursday night. Heading into the game, the Mustangs had won three in a row while the Lancers had lost four in a row. Both teams saw their streaks continue as Western improves to 8-6-1 for the season to move up to fourth in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West, and the Lancers dropped to 7-8-0, good for sixth in the ten-team division. Western had dropped their previous two games to the Lancers earlier in the season and was looking to change their fortunes against their geographic rival with a win in the team’s penultimate game of 2018. Mustangs' captain Jonathan Laser got the scoring started for the purple and white with a goal at 13:21 of the first period. Kolten Olynek would put the ‘Stangs up 2-0 just 40 seconds later. Windsor would get one back two and a half minutes later with a goal by the one of the team’s leading scorers, Justice Dundas. It looked like Windsor would make things interesting once Dundas cut the lead in half; however, Mustangs goaltender Luke Peresinni would stop everything else that came his way to end Western’s losing streak against the Lancers. Peresinni wasn’t overly tested all evening, only facing 21 shots; however, he was solid when he needed to be, and made the saves that he needed to make in order to preserve the win. On the other end of things, Lancers goalie Jonathan Reinhart was incredibly busy all evening, making 45 saves on 50 shots, including many high-quality scoring opportunities.
To the surprise of no one, the game turned into a very physical and chippy affair, with the two teams combining for 92 penalty minutes, the most of them in the final two minutes of the game, with a total of four game misconducts, including two players kicked out of the game for fighting, something which one doesn’t see often in USports (University Sports) hockey as fighting is, of course, not allowed. Olynek also had a faux Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, assist and a fight), with two goals and a gross misconduct for trash talking, a penalty that is not called often. Tensions were so high after the game that the officials did the wise thing and cancelled the traditional post-game handshake. Both the Lancers and Mustangs were immediately ushered off the ice to avoid any further shenanigans in the handshake line.
Putting the chaotic finish aside, it was a very good win for the purple and white, who, as previously mentioned, had yet to beat the Lancers this season. Head Coach Clarke Singer was especially pleased with his special teams as the Western Mustangs finally scored on the power play; an area in which the team had struggled this season. Prior to the game, Western was dead last in power play percentage. The team continued its strong work on the penalty kill, and was perfect on the evening, killing off all three Lancer power plays.
The game was certainly an entertaining one, and as Radio Western Player of the Game Kyle Pettit mentioned post game: the next game for the Mustangs on Saturday, in Windsor, “should be interesting”.