Hockey Rivals to Battle on Garden’s Ice
THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – The Lakehead Thunderwolves will renew one of the biggest rivalries in OUA hockey this weekend when the Western Mustangs visit the Fort William Gardens. The opening face-off set for 7:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Lakehead: 8-9-2 OUA, 11-11-3 overall (6th place West Division)
Western: 8-9-2 OUA, 11-13-2 overall (6th place West Division)
Lakehead and Western enter the weekend with identical conference records and are tied for sixth place in the West Division, making this a crucial series for both teams.
The Thunderwolves were defeated twice by west division foes on the road last weekend, but were able to collect one point in a 5-4 overtime loss at York last Friday. The following evening in Guelph, Lakehead fell 5-1 to the first-place Gryphons.
Home Sweet Home
The Wolves will be glad to return to the friendly confines of the Fort William Gardens this weekend, as Lakehead has won seven of its last eight home games, including six straight conference matchups.
Western is the only team in the west division that has a winning record over the Thunderwolves all-time, as Lakehead is 28-42-1 versus the Mustangs dating back to 2001.
In the most recent meeting between these two rivals, the Wolves and Mustangs squared off at the Fort William Gardens last February on the final weekend of the regular season. Both games were barnburners that went into overtime, with Lakehead coming out victorious twice by identical scores of 6-5.
About the Mustangs
The Mustangs had a slow start to the season, but will come to Lakehead riding a four-game winning streak, the most recent of which was a 3-1 win at York last Saturday.
Western is led by Head Coach Clarke Singer, now in his 17th season behind the Mustangs’ bench. Western’s top scoring threats are forwards Robert Polesello and Trevor Warnaar, while rearguards Matt Watson and Ryan Bechtel are mainstays on defence.
Due to a rash of injuries in goal, the Mustangs have had five netminders get some playing time this season, with Dan Davies seeing the most action so far. But Luke Peresinni has the hot hand as of late, posting a 1.99 GAA with a .944 SV% in his four starts.