The Western Mustangs women's hockey team lost 4-1 to the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday afternoon at Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre.
Western came into the game at the top of the OUA standings with a three-game winning streak and a perfect record to start the regular season.
After a 5-3 loss to Western this past Thursday, there was no doubt the Gryphons were hungry for battle.
Within just five minutes of the game, Guelph scored back-to-back goals, forcing Western’s head coach Candice Moxley to call a timeout.
“The overall message was that this isn’t our style of our game,” said Moxley. “Ultimately, I think they did respond, but we dug ourselves in a hole, and it was very tough to get out of.”
Half way through the first period, Western's power play opportunity lacked viable scoring opportunities. But the Mustangs were able to build the teams confidence back up and started to move in the right direction.
The Mustangs came out in the second period with more urgency, evening up the ice and tantalizing the crowd with the vision of what kind of team the Mustangs can be.
“We try to pump them up and talk about the little things we can adjust heading into the next period,” said co-captain April Clark on what happens in between periods.
A stronger start did not translate into a better period. Western fell back into the pattern of being outskated and outworked.
Gryphons widen the gap to 4-0 lead with goals in both the second and the third period by Gryphons senior forward Sydney Davidson.
It was not until Western’s April Clark’s great goal right at the face-off. Halfway through the third period, Clark tucked the puck into the bottom right corner of the net. This was the first time the Mustangs showed any real offensive action throughout the game.
This was Clark’s first goal of the season. Considering she was the leading points and goal scorer last season, it was somewhat of a late start.
Little action followed Western’s goal, allowing University of Guelph to walk away with a 4-1 victory over Western.
Neither Clark or Coach Moxley were happy with how the team played.
“I think we were trying to do too much,” said Moxley. “We will watch the video and see where we went off script because when we get into our format and start moving the puck, good things happen for us.”
Western’s next game is this Friday, which gives the team time to regroup and recover from a few injuries that withdrew some players from the lineup on Saturday, including co-captain Renae Nevills.
“We have to play the full 60 minutes and as a team,” said Clark. “We need to play Mustang Hockey”.
Western is now second place in the OUA standings, trailing University of Toronto by one point. The Mustangs are looking for a big win against Laurentian in their next game to maintain their high standing in the league and bring back the team's confidence.