Mustangs avenge last second loss

It was an ugly way to start the weekend. With a Generals’ pass from behind the net going off a Mustangs player in front of his net and in for the winning goal with 0.9 seconds left on the clock, it is unlikely the home team slept well that night.

It was an ugly way to start the weekend.

With a Generals’ pass from behind the net going off a Mustangs player in front of his net and in for the winning goal with 0.9 seconds left on the clock, it is unlikely the home team slept well that night.

However, the Whitehorse midget Mustangs bounced back from Friday’s last-second 4-3 loss, with a 3-0 win over the visiting Oceanside Generals up from BC for a two-game series, on Saturday at the Canada

Games Centre.

Needless to say, Friday’s loss was on the minds of the local team as they took to the ice Saturday.

“Redemption was most of it,” said Mustangs goalie Steven Harlow, who played in net both games. “(Brad Gustafson) was supposed to play today but he had a migraine so I got to go back in there and try to fight

for a win and the team put out and I was lucky enough to get a shutout.

“Everyone wanted redemption from yesterday.”

The Mustangs scored one in each period Saturday, with Morris Morrison sending a wrist shot through traffic from the blue line in the first, Cody Mitchell finding the net on a tight angle shot in the second and Zack

Moses scoring on a break away in the third, finding the five-hole of Generals goalie Broedy Gaschler. Mustangs’ Bradley Keaton made two assists in the game and teammates Adrian Hawkings, Travis Rivest,

Jeremey Schmidt and Morrison helped out with ones of their own.

“To lose with that fluky goal with 0.9 seconds was a bit … they were heartbroken,” said Mustangs head coach Jim Stephens.  “They played well yesterday. It was a good game – either team could have won.

“Today they rebounded from that, they put it behind them and they played a real solid game.

“It was probably one of their best games of the year.”

On Friday, the Mustangs took one-goal leads twice before falling into a 3-3 tie.

“After that the whole team started collapsing,” said Harlow. “We kind of got selfish – it was kind of our own fault, the way we lost yesterday.”

Scoring for the Mustangs on Friday were Keaton, Moses and Rivest, who also picked up an assist along the way.

“(The Mustangs) played really hard today,” said Generals head coach Vince Hall after Saturday’s game. “They played harder on us today and we missed our chances.

“We’re a really young team; we have no 17-year-olds. We’re predominately a team of 15-year-olds. So we’re young and we made a few mistakes and it cost us.

”They scored when they had their chances and we didn’t.”

The Oceanside Generals, who were invited to Whitehorse after playing the Mustangs in a tournament in Kamloops last year, play in a Tier 1 midget league in the Vancouver Island Hockey Association.

“We’re middle to lower in the pack because we’re playing against the best teams on the island – and also, we’re a Tier 2 team playing in a Tier 1 league,” said Hall.

The midget Mustangs team is doubling as the training squad for the Arctic Winter Games midget division, bringing on a new player from Haines Junction (William MacKellar) and bringing up two others from the

midget Mustangs B team after the tryouts for the Games. The Games team will also feature Yukoners playing on teams outside the territory.

The team will need to be slimmed down to just 15 players for the Games to meet regulations.

The series against the Generals was the last contact hockey the team will play before the Games, yet Stephens remains optimistic.

“We’ve been playing rec hockey since November and last night – usually there’s a big adjustment period when you go from rec to contact – they made the transition really quick,” said Stephens. “So we should be

ready to go at Arctic Games when we get there.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I think this team will be quite competitive. We’re hoping we’ll get a shot at the gold.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com