The Mustangs men’s hockey team saw their fourth consecutive win slip through their fingers on Saturday night; the Thunderwolves took home two points after winning the game 3-2 in overtime.
While Western University dropped an overtime decision to Lakehead University, they played well enough for a win for 59 minutes on Saturday.
It was the last minute — which has been an unfortunate theme for the team this year — that did the team in and prevented them from earning a valuable two points in the standings.
With just 54 seconds left in the third period, the Thunderwolves sent a point shot intentionally wide of the Mustangs net. The puck rattled hard off the end-boards and bounced out in front for an easy tap-in for Lakehead’s Dexter Kuczek.
During overtime, Western tried to salvage the win, but an inadvertent Stephen Desrocher put the team on the penalty kill. The defenceman tried to lift a Thunderwolves stick in front of the net, but accidentally followed through into the player’s face.
With the extra man, Lakehead tipped home the game winner, securing two points and a tie with Western in the standings.
The Mustangs two goals were potted by Kenny Huether and Austin Osmanski.
Huether’s powerplay marker tied the game at one in the first period and Osmanski’s third goal of the year gave the Mustangs a lead in the third.
Osmanski’s late goal was a little out of character for his style of play, the defenceman explained after the game.
“Yeah, we called a one-timer. Faceoff wasn't exactly clean. Being more of a safe player I usually, probably wouldn't step into that,” Osmanski said.
Adding to the disappointment of the loss, the Mustangs nearly secured the win mid-way through the third period. Veteran forward Mitchell Fitzmorris nearly banged a puck into the net, but Lakehead goaltender Nic Renyard was able to pull it back before it crossed the goal line.
While the winger wasn’t able to net his first of the year, and what likely would have been the game winner, his teammates were just happy to have him back with the team after an extended absence at the start of the year. The winger missed the entire first semester of games while completing an internship.
“Mitchell is such a great guy and one of our hardest working players. A leader for us,” head coach Clarke Singer said after the game, when asked about the veteran. “Does a great job on the bench, great job in the room. It's really nice to have him back being part of the team.”
Both Huether and Osmanski echoed the sentiment of their coach, with Huether calling the forward a “ball of energy”.
After picking up seven points in their past four games, the Mustangs enter a tough stretch in which they will play three games in four nights. After the game, though, Singer explained that the tough schedule just means more rest and less practice for the Mustangs.
Two of the three games will come against teams ahead of Western in the standings – and one against Waterloo University, who sits just four points back of the Mustangs.
All three will be in London, though, with the first coming on Wednesday night against the University of Toronto.