SNOW SCORES OT WINNER FOR NO. 6 MUSTANGS IN MEN'S HOCKEY QUARTER-FINAL

LONDON, Ont. - Aaron Snow (Windsor, Ont.) scored the game-winning goal just over two minutes into overtime, as the No. 6 nationally-ranked Western Mustangs won the opening game of the best-of-three OUA West quarter-final series 4-3 over the Guelph Gryphons.

After a shot from Western defenceman Adam Nemeth (Amherstburg, Ont.) was stoped by the leg pad of Guelph netminder Adam Jennings (Calgary, Alta.), Snow grabbed the puck and flipped it over top of the stretched out goalie to draw a roar from the crowd at Thompson Arena.

The Mustangs also had goals from Chris Petrow (Haliburton, Ont.), Keaton Turkiewicz (Brantford, Ont.) and Yashar Farmanara (West Vancouver, B.C.). Three of Western's four goals were netted by rookies.

Guelph's goals came from Chris Baker (Leduc, Alta.), Edward Gale (Keswick, Ont.) and Alex Magera (Edmonton, Alta.).

Game 2 of the series goes Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Guelph Arena. If necessary, Game 3 will be played on Sunday back at Thompson Arena in London, Ont., at 7:30 p.m.

While sloppy at times, if nothing else, this game proved you have to be lucky sometimes to be successful in the post-season.

Both teams benefitted from lucky bounces throughout the game, as four of the first six goals were on redirects or tip-ins.

Western's powerplay was a major factor, going 3-of-6.

Gryphons forward Baker redirected a Zach Lillie (Bracebridge, Ont.) shot to give Guelph the 1-0 lead eight minutes into the game, even though Western had outplayed them, outshooting them 10-4 before the goal.

Gale watched his powerplay point shot flutter in, hit a teammate and then a Mustang forward, before sailing past Western goalie Brad Topping (Strathroy, Ont.) to give Guelph a 2-0 lead just over three minutes later.

They would hold onto that lead until the second period.

Driving to the net, Turckiewicz drew a penalty as he was hooked by Guelph defender Jeff Oginski (St. Albert, Alta.), causing him to fan on a good scoring opportunity in front.

On the ensuing powerplay, Petrow shot from the point, benefitting from the work of captain Sal Peralta (Leamington, Ont.) and Farmanara down low. His rising shot deflected in front of Jennings and fell past the netminder on the powerplay to cut the lead to one just over five minutes into the period.

Soon after, Mustang rookie Kevin Baker (Georgetown, Ont.) had a chance to tie the game at two on a two-on-one, but his backhander hit the side of the net, despite a beautiful pass from Turkiewicz.

Topping did his part to keep the game close, controlling his rebounds in the second. He made a highlight reel save, robbing Guelph's Thomas Laplante (Ste. Foy, Que.) who was left in alone off a set play, getting behind two Western defenders.

His backhand was corralled by Topping's quick glove with just under eight minutes remaining in the second period. Topping finished with 27 saves for the win, while Jennings made 38 in the loss.

On a four-on-four play, Guelph forward Magera outwaited Topping in front, grabbing a loose puck off a Western turnover in their own zone, and faking twice before shooting to make it 3-1.

But the momentum turned once again, as Westen scored two more powerplay markers.

Guelph winger Kris Belan (Florence, Ont.) was assessed a five-minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct on a hit on Joe McCann (Essex, Ont.) into the boards. McCann remained on the ice but later returned to the game.

Western enjoyed a powerplay for just over three minutes. They scored to make it 3-2 as Turkiewicz lunged forward to redirect a Patrick Ouellet (Baie-Comeau, Que.) pass and lightly lifted the puck over top of Jennings with 2:26 left in the period.

With the major penalty still being served, Guelph went down two men as defender Derek Douglas (Kitchener, Ont.) was called for roughing.

The Mustangs failed to convert with the two-man advantage, but with 10 seconds left in the period, and Guelph's penalty killers fatigued, Farmanara lifted a harmless looking backhander and tied the game on the powerplay at 3-3.

In a slow-starting third period, both teams saw a lot of action in the neutral zone, with a number of scambles in the corners.

Western poured the pressure on, especially late in the period, outshooting the Gryphons 18-5 in the frame.

With just over three mintues remaining in the tied game, Peralta shot just wide on a glorious opportunity from 10-feet out.

Keeping the pressure on, a Ryan Martinelli (London, Ont.) point shot in final minute was redirected and hit the cross bar. Then Farmanara had a shot stopped by Jennings, sending the game to overtime.

Snow, a Dallas Stars draft pick, netted the game-winner after Western dominated the overtime frame.

The game took a nastier tone midway through the game, with players chirping at each other near the benches and some late hacks and whacks happening behind the play.

Source: Mustangs Athletics

Photo Credit: Craig Glover
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