Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

PROTECTING THE PUCK – Jarod McCulloch of the Midget Mustangs protects the puck from Calgary’s Brett Fouracres during last weekend’s three-game series in Whitehorse.

Mustangs drop weekend series but gain valuable game time

The three-game weekend series between the midget Mustangs and the Edge School out of Calgary showed more than just good hockey.

By Chuck Tobin on February 9, 2017

The three-game weekend series between the midget Mustangs and the Edge School out of Calgary showed more than just good hockey.

That a school with an advanced hockey program and a reputation for quality would travel to Whitehorse on its own dime to play a three-game series, says something.

Just as the Saskatchwan’s elite Notre Dame academy would choose to send a midget team north last fall to play the Mustangs said something.

The midget Mustangs have also been invited to a high-level midget tournament in Victoria later this month, with some top triple AAA midget teams attending, including the L.A. Junior Kings.

“We would not have been able to get into that tournament two years ago,” Mustangs head coach Martin Lawrie said in an interview following the split series with the Calgary Edge over the weekend.

He attributes the success of the Mustangs to the individual commitment by the players to compete and compete some more. There is, as well, some high end hockey players on the club who are likely to do well in the coming years, Lawrie said.

The weekend series opened Saturday with the Edge winning 2-1 followed by their 2-0 victory Sunday.

The Mustangs won Monday’s game 3-2.

“We scored with eight seconds to go,” Lawrie said of the win, adding with chuckle: “Just like the coaches drew it up.”

He pointed out when the Mustangs visited the Edge School a month ago at their own rink for a three-game series, the Mustang’s lost all three but all three were tight games.

In Saturday’s loss, the Mustangs gave up two power play goals, and in Sunday’s 2-0 loss, the Edge goalie stood on his head as the Mustangs outshot the Calgary Club 40-19.

“All six games we have played have been really competitive, really good hockey.”

Even losses, the head coach emphasized, present the Mustangs with opportunities to learn, opportunities to advance their game.

Lawrie explained the club gets the conditioning time on ice, the time to practice skill development and time in the gym.

What it doesn’t get is the game time, the 60 minutes of intensity and full contact on a regular basis, he said.

“That’s the challenge for us.”

Edge head coach Josh Gosling said his Edge club was thankful for the weekend on and off the ice.

“We went up for development,” he said in an interview after returning to Calgary.

“We went up for reasons to help us throughout the season. There was a purpose to each game and they are great competition.”

Gosling credited Lawrie and assistant coach Carl Burgess for the success of the Mustangs.

“It was a unique trip that our boys enjoyed,” he said. “And it will definitely be an on-ice and off-ice memory, for sure.”

Of the invitation to Victoria, Lawrie said: “We were invited to that one based on how we have been doing this season and the level we have been playing at, so that is encouraging as well.”

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