Men's hockey, Oct. 27

After dropping a blowout loss to the Rams on Friday night, the Mustangs dominated the Lions in a 6-2 victory at Thompson Arena.

After the loss on Friday, head coach Clarke Signer explained that the team was beaten in every facet of the game. First year forward Sean Montgomery said that the team didn’t play with the proper compete level. 

The message was clearly heard throughout the room.

Western University came out flying against York University, barely missing a few close chances in the first five minutes.

Unfortunately, after dominating from puck drop, the Mustangs gave up a goal early. 

Assistant coach Patrick Ouellet explained after the game that despite going down a goal in the first few minutes, the Western bench maintained positive mindsets — reminding themselves that their good play would be rewarded eventually.

“On the bench, no negative comments or anything,” said Ouellet. “Keep pushing, keep pushing, it's coming, it's coming. Sometimes it is frustrating, because the puck doesn't go in. But you got two options: you keep going and hopefully the puck goes in, or you just give up and you lose the game.”

The team certainly didn’t give up on Saturday. After going down 2-1 in the first 20 minutes, the Mustangs slammed their foot on the gas in the second.

During the middle frame, the Lions were held to just five shots — while Western hammered York with 17.

The Mustangs effort was rewarded with two goals from defencemen, one from Carson Moniz — his first of his U Sport career, in his first career game — and the other from Stephen Desrocher.

The pair of goals shot Western ahead by one, entering the final period.

Desrocher added an insurance goal midway through the period and the Lions were unable to put a puck past Mustangs backup goaltender David Ovsjannikov.

After the game, the goal scorer lauded praise on Ovsjannikov, who stopped nine of 11 shots on Saturday night.

“He's been unbelievable for us this year,” said Desrocher. “He's stepped in every game and played really well. I think he's made some big strides from last year, especially. I think he's a great goaltender and he's only going to get better as we go on.”

For reference, the second year goaltender posted an .855 save percentage last season. In two games this year, he’s generated a great .937 save percentage. 

The Lions netminder was also incredible throughout the contest, but when the team is outshot 29-11, there isn’t much a goaltender can do.

Interestingly, though, York opted to pull one of their best players off the ice in the third period. With a little over seven minutes remaining, the Lions pulled their goalie — trying anything to close the two goal margin.

While it was creative, the plan failed. The Mustangs scored twice on the open net.

Needless to say, Ouellet and the Western coaching staff were surprised by the early pull.

“That's up to them. I don't think we would do it,” said Ouellet. “He went for it. There's not much I'm gonna say on that; he went for it, he decided to do it again after. If it works he looks like a genius, and if it doesn't, you ask me the question, right?”

Coaching decisions on the Mustangs side also raised questions as the team opted to alter the lineup after Friday’s blowout loss.

Ouellet explained that changes needed to be made after the effort shown against the Rams. 

"A little bit of everything. Guys maybe not playing their best game, but it's after a game like that you can't just come back with the same lineup,” said Ouellet. “You just have to mix things up. Yeah, sending messages to maybe some guys, but it's mostly just sending a message to the team, overall, more than just specific players.”

The message was received, loud and clear.

The Mustangs will play another Friday-Saturday back-to-back next week against the Windsor Lancers and Waterloo Warriors.

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