Brantford Homecoming spoiled with 4-2 loss for Hawks

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team opened their season Saturday afternoon against the Windsor Lancers, in front of an enthusiastic crowd during Homecoming at the Laurier Brantford campus. The Hawks did not walk away with the win, dropping a 4-2 decision, but they are a confident team loaded with a ton of new talent this year.

The atmosphere was electric when the game started with the Golden Hawks were feeding off the energy of the crowd. They opened the scoring in the first with an impressive drive to the net by Peter MacIntosh.

Captain Tyler Stothers reinforced the importance of the crowd at the beginning of the game.

“It was actually great … they were making life miserable for the [opposing] bench and anyone who took a penalty and gave us an extra push,” he said.

Unfortunately, the Hawks were not able to maintain that pressure for the full 60 minutes, as the Lancers got right back into it and the team’s traded goals until it was 2-2 going into the final period of play.

Coach Greg Puhalski attributed this fall in performance in the second period to preparation and the mental aspect of the game.

“A lot of it starts in practice, being able to transfer it to a game and not overthink the game, I think that’s what happens … you’re overthinking and not focusing on the simple things that make you effective,” Puhalski said.

The Lancer’s then scored a shorthanded goal when the puck got stuck on the wet ice, causing a brutal turnover.

This bad break at the beginning of the third period ended up being the difference as the Lancers added one more just under eight minutes later and took the game 4-2.

“After that you kind of have to turn the page and get your focus back and get right back out there and make up for it because stuff like that is going to happen and you can’t let it deter from your game plan,” Stothers said.

The Golden Hawks are a tough, hard-nosed team this year according to Stothers, and they need to focus on execution and raising their competitive level in all aspects of their game.

While the opener did not end the way the Golden Hawks may have wanted, it is no accurate representation of the direction of the team this year.

The combination of a good group worth ethic and a large amount of new incoming players makes them a force in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference.

The Hawks roster includes 12 rookies this season.

Stothers praised his incoming teammates saying, “These guys that we brought in, they’re good. They are a real good group of guys both on the ice and off the ice so I don’t think there is going to be too much of a transition period.”

During the next couple of weeks, the Golden Hawks will look to bounce back against the Lakehead Thunderwolves, and then face a tough task asking the Western Mustangs on the eve of Halloween.

When asked what the Hawks could improve on moving forward, Puhalski stressed the importance of hard work.

“It’s our attention to detail that makes us a good team, it starts with practice and we need to consistently be there on a daily basis and build good habits,” he said.

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