The Mustangs let their losing streak slip to four games with a 4-2 loss to the Gryphons on Friday night at Thompson Arena.
Friday’s defeat marked the second time that the Western University and Guelph University men’s hockey teams have met since the Ontario University Athletics Western final last season.
The Gryphons won that series 2-1, after taking home a heartbreaking double overtime victory 4-3 at Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre. Even though the series was closed out in March, neither team seemed to let the emotions from the three game set subside.
Third-year forward Kolten Olynek highlighted that fact when asked after the game.
“I mean, I don't think we like those guys very much and I know they don't like us very much,” said Olynek. “Losing in the OUA West final last year in game three the way we did, it's going to sting for the whole year.”
The veteran forward is no stranger to playing with emotion, and he was tested early in Friday's game.
Olynek found himself tangled up with Guelph’s Ryan O'Bonsawin in the first period, leading to offsetting minor penalties for roughing after the whistle. O'Bonsawin was so incensed with his Mustangs counterpart that he spent nearly the entire two minute penalty screaming at his partner in the box.
After the game, the Mustangs forward followed instructions from the team, choosing his words carefully when describing the incident.
“Oh, nothing much. You guys all know how I play,” Olynek said with a smile. “I like getting under people's skin, he's the same way for their team. Just kinda get both teams into the game, really, I guess.”
The winger’s contributions to the team went beyond his role as agitator, though. Midway through the second period, the forward battled his way to the front of the net and banged home the Mustangs’ second goal of the game.
After a Stephen Desrocher powerplay marker in the first, Olynek’s second period tuck gave the Mustangs a 2-1 lead entering the final period of play.
However, instead of halting their losing streak with a huge two points over a heated rival, Western came out flat in the third.
Guelph’s Marc Stevens tied the game just under three minutes into the final frame and the Mustangs failed to convert on a powerplay just under a minute later.
At the end of the two-minute man advantage, a puck bobbled on Desrocher’s stick, allowing the Gryphons to steal the puck and send forward Matt Kenney on a breakaway.
The third year player beat Luke Peressini, giving the Gryphons their first lead of game. The goal would stand as the game winner after Guelph iced the game with an empty net goal with just under a minute remaining in regulation.
While the Mustangs put up a strong effort through two periods, the third cost them two points and a victory.
After the game, head coach Clarke Singer criticized his team’s effort in the final 20 minutes.
“I thought we had a good two periods. Third period is just not acceptable. You can't come out [to a] 2-1 lead and lose a game like that,” explained Singer. “We had the opportunity to put a nail in the coffin with a couple powerplays there and we weren't very good on either of those powerplays and they kinda took the game over.”
The Mustangs picked up a single point against the Ryerson University Rams on Saturday night, but failed to add a win in overtime.
With the pair of weekend losses, the Mustangs now sit out of playoff position in ninth place in the OUA Western division. The team has managed to pick up 13 points in 15 games, for a 5-7-3 record at the midway point of the season.
Western will have the entire month of December to rest and regroup before playing the Waterloo Warriors at home on Jan. 3.