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PREVIEW: Western swing to test winning streak

Thursday January 26, 2017
Célébration de trois joueurs après un but.
Greg Mason

The University of Ottawa men’s hockey team will look to continue its incredibly run of form this weekend in southwestern Ontario, where the Gee-Gees (13-7-3) will face the Western Mustangs (6-13-2) and Guelph Gryphons (13-8-1) on a two-game roadtrip.

A red-hot start to 2017 as vaulted Patrick Grandmaitre’s team into the conversation for home-ice advantage in the ultra-tight OUA East Division. The Gee-Gees enter the weekend trailing 4th-place Carleton — a potential first-round opponent — by just two points, with each team having five games left on the schedule.

Offensively, uOttawa has been one of the OUA’s best teams since the turn of the calendar. As has been the case for most of the season, Kevin Domingue (Laval, Que.) is leading the charge for the Gee-Gees on 27 points (14G, 13A) — the speedy forward sits a single point behind Concordia’s Anthony DeLuca in the OUA rooking scoring race.

Anthony Brodeur (Morin-Heights, Que.) and Graham Hunt (Concord, Mass.) have battened down the hatches between the pipes; uOttawa has surrendered just 11 goals in its six games since Christmas break.

The Western Mustangs are having their worst season in recent memory following a tough recruiting campaign; Clarke Singer’s ‘Stangs are on pace for the program’s first losing season since 1970-71, and trail Waterloo by five points for the final playoff spot in the OUA West Division.

That said, the Mustangs still have plenty of talent and retained a large percentage of the roster which reached the University Cup last season. Rob Polesello (7-7—14) is Western’s top forward, while former Ottawa 67 Sean Callaghan patrols the blueline for the Mustangs.

The Guelph Gryphons are rounding into form at the right time following an inconsistent first semester. Shawn Camp’s Gryphons narrowly missed out on a trip to Halifax last season, falling in the OUA’s bronze-medal game to Carleton, and lost significant pieces in Andrew D’Agostini, Nick Trecapelli, and Rob De Fulviis. Despite that, the Gryphons are headed for a home-ice position in the playoffs and have earned points in five of their six games since Christmas break (4-1-1).

Puck drop at Western is slated for 7 p.m. Friday at Thompson Arena in London, Ont., while the Saturday game at Guelph’s Gryphon Ice Centre will start at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be available on OUA TV.