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10/18/2002: WESTERN ONTARIO - 1 @ LAKEHEAD - 0

THUNDERWOLVES DEFEAT WESTERN 5-3!

Mike Aylward
Friday, October 18, 2002

The Lakehead Thunderwolves began their 2002-2003 OUA campaign with a thrilling 5-3 victory over arch-rival and defending CIS Champions University of Western Ontario Mustangs.
 
The Thunderwolves came out flying in the first period, fired up by the screaming crowd of 3552, and Lakehead's Robert Hillier scored at the 24 second mark, assisted by Mark Robinson. The Thunderwolves peppered Mustang goaltender Mike D'Alessandro, who came up with a lot of great stops in the early going. Matt Kenny scored again for the Thunderwolves at 8:18, on a lovely passing play from Jason Lange and Chris Shaffer. Western's Darren Mortier put the Mustangs on the scoreboard at the 18:21 mark, assisted by Justin Davis. The first period was marked by a lot of clean fast paced action, hard hits by the Thunderwolves, and great goaltending by Western's D'Alessandro. Lakehead outshot Western 15-5 in the first period.

The second period, the Mustangs offense found its stride and controlled the play for the first half of the period. Lakehead goaltender Grant McCune was forced to make some spectacular saves. Lakehead successfully killed off a 5 on 3 penalty kill situation, with Western applying a lot of pressure. The Thunderwolves came back in the second half of the period and the end result was a goal by Chris Shaffer at 19:06, assisted by Jason Lange and Wyatt Tunnicliffe. The period again featured some great action, but was marred by a lot of penalties and game misconducts to Lakehead's Matt Kenny and Western's Ryan Mckie, who got his at the 20:00 minute mark, as well as 7 minutes in minors (5 and 2 for Slashing). So, the Thunderwolves would open the third period with a 7 minute powerplay advantage. Western outshot Lakehead 11-10 in the second period.

The Thunderwolves came out a little flat in the third, and could not capitalize on their 7 minute long powerplay advantage. This seemed to spark the Mustangs who scored right after on a goal at 8:21 by Matt Bannan, assisted by Jeff Martin and Brad Yeo. The Mustangs struck quickly again at 9:34 to even the score at 3 apiece, on a goal by Joey Talbot, assisted by Chris Haskett. The Mustangs pressed hard but Thunderwolves goaltender McCune was equal to the task. The Mustang's Steve Benedetti blocked and blistering shot, and went down injured. He quickly got up and headed for the Mustang bench, not seeing that he was the last man back, and the Thunderwolves Bryan Duce and Jeff Richards broke in on a 2 man breakaway. Duce slid a perfect pass across to Richard who banged it home over a sliding D'Alessandro at 15:15 to put the Thunderwolves up by one. The Thunderwolves notched their insurance goal, when Jason Lange scored on the powerplay at 17:04, assisted by Chris Shaffer and Erik Lodge.  Lakehead outshot Western 10-7 in the third period.

Lakehead Head Coach Pete Belliveau was happy with his team's performance.
"Our powerplay came through when we really needed it, to give us the insurance goal. We had a big letdown at the start of the third, during our 7 minute powerplay, but we got one when we really needed it. It's going to be a very interesting game tomorrow because Western is going to come out really hard. "

The Three Stars, as picked by TBT/CKPR Sports Director Bryan Wyatt, were:
1) Lakehead's Jason Lange
2) Lakehead's Bryan Duce
3) Western's Joe Talbot

My Twolves Shout-Outs go to Chris Shaffer for potting a goal and setting up two others, to Grant McCune for standing tall, and to the 3552 Twolve fans for making some noise and being the 7th player at the Gardens tonight!  Hoooowwwwlllllll!!!! 

Lakehead outshot Western 35-23. The two teams take to the ice again Saturday night at 7:30 at the Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay in what should be an exciting second game of the series.