WATERLOO, Ont. (from Western Mustangs) — Luke Peressini made 27 saves to register his first career OUA shutout, as the Mustangs downed the Laurier Golden Hawks 1-0 on the road Thursday night.
The win moves Western to a 13-9-3 record, tying them for fourth in the OUA West alongside the Golden Hawks and Brock Badgers.
Kolten Olynek netted the lone goal of the night, scoring in the third period to lead his team to their second straight win as the team remains undefeated in regulation in 2018.
Laurier goaltender Chris Festerini stopped 23 of 24 shots, while defender Kyle Jenkins played an impressive two-way game, clogging up the defensive zone and generating offense for his team.
The game provided a unique challenge to the Mustangs, as they competed on Olympic sized ice in Waterloo. Both teams lacked flow to start off, as the Mustangs attempted to adjust to the extra ice.
The back and forth nature of the game saw both teams struggle to maintain offensive pressure, and meant that neither goalie saw too much action in the first frame, with the shots being 7-6 in favour of the Mustangs by the end of the period.
Despite the challenge posed by the extra room on the ice, the purple and white set the tone to start off the period. Western did an excellent job breaking out of the defensive zone, blocking shots and deflecting passes, while keeping the pressure on the Golden Hawks.
Although he only face minimal shots, Peressini came up big for the Mustangs when called upon. He played a crucial role in keeping the game tied after the Mustangs took a penalty late in the first, contributing to an excellent Mustangs penalty kill.
The Mustangs best chance of the frame came in the dying seconds of the period, as Olynek deked out Festerini only for the puck to roll of his stick and just barely miss the net.
The second period saw the two teams find their footing, ramping up the pace as well as the physicality. The teams traded odd-man rushes up and down the ice throughout the period, pushing the flow from the first period.
The back and forth nature of the game continued, with both teams struggling to maintain pressure in the offensive zone. Despite this, both the Mustangs and the Golden Hawks had significant chances.
The Mustangs could not capitalize on several 2-on-1s, while the Golden Hawks were stumped by Jonathan Laser on an attempted 3-on-1, as he slid to block a pass, and send the puck out of play.
Both goaltenders stole the show in the second period, as they dominated the defensive zones at both ends of the ice, keeping the game 0-0 heading into the third.
Olynek finally broke the deadlock, netting the game’s only goal with just under ten minutes to go in the contest. The play started with a defensive zone break out, with Olynek receiving a stretch pass from Spenser Cobbold to cause an odd-man rush, where Olynek’s perfectly placed snapshot snuck under Festarini’s glove.
The Mustangs locked it down defensively after the Olynek goal, trapping Laurier in the neutral zone, and winding down the clock to earn the win.
Western will be back in action Saturday, as the face off against the visiting Lakehead Thunderwolves at home at 7:00 pm EST, in the inaugural Snowy Saddle game.