Hockey – The Cord The tie that binds Wilfrid Laurier University since 1926 Mon, 19 Nov 2018 23:06:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hockey – The Cord 32 32 42727683 Colin Furlong signs professional contract with European team Fri, 31 Aug 2018 11:00:55 +0000

File Photo / Photo by Emi Zibaei

Long time Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk goaltender Colin Furlong has joined HC Pustertal Wolfe, a professional European hockey team that’s part of the Alps Hockey League.

Furlong signed a professional contract with the Italian side earlier this summer after spending four years with the Golden Hawks.

For Furlong, playing at a professional level was always the ultimate goal ever since he started his hockey career.

“That’s the big part of what made me come to school [Laurier] actually. I obviously wanted to get an education as well but the hockey was a big thing for me,” he said.

Playing professionally won’t just be a big challenge on the ice for Furlong, but also off the ice due to the difference in culture and language in Italy.

“I think it will be a little bit different but from everything I’ve heard, most European hockey teams speak in English with each other.”

“Where I’m going, both Italian and German are common languages and I don’t speak either. It’ll be different when I’m going around in the city, but in the dressing room it should be pretty similar [to what it is in North America],” Furlong said.

The Cambridge native began his journey with the Hawks in 2014, making two starts for the men’s hockey team with a record of 1-1.

“Every year during my Laurier career, a couple of key guys always got injured at some point during the season and that would obviously affect the team, but I think they just need to keep going in the direction they have been going in and be consistent every game, every practice.”

Furlong took over the starting goalie position for Laurier in his second year with the team. Not only did his level of play improve every year, Furlong transformed into one of the leaders on an up and coming Golden Hawks team. Although the Hawks struggled with inconsistency last year, Furlong believes that the purple and gold are headed in the right direction.

“These last two years, we had a very skilled team and everyone was very close [to each other], but I’m not too sure exactly what happened. Injuries were a huge part [of our inconsistency],” he said.

“Every year during my Laurier career, a couple of key guys always got injured at some point during the season and that would obviously affect the team, but I think they just need to keep going in the direction they have been going in and be consistent every game, every practice,” Furlong added.

Playing professionally is often the goal for every aspiring athlete and it’ll be interesting to see how Colin Furlong develops and adapts his game to compete at the highest level.

Furlong believes that the hardworking mindset he adopted from his time with the Hawks will be invaluable.

“There was a very professional atmosphere and mentality with our team. We practiced five days a week and then obviously there was also one or two games per week. I just really tried to grow as a hockey player throughout the four years [at Laurier].”

“That’s definitely the biggest thing I learned. You have to try and get better every day because if you aren’t, then you’re just taking a step backwards.”

Losing a talent like Furlong will not only be a huge hit to the Hawks on the ice, but his presence will also sorely be missed in the Laurier locker room. It will be interesting to see how the Hawks deal with Furlong’s absence from the team and this question only adds to the intrigue in what is shaping up to an exciting 2018-19 season.

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Laurier women’s hockey team announces Kelly Paton as new head coach Wed, 30 May 2018 11:00:10 +0000

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A new era has dawned upon us for Wilfrid Laurier University’s women’s hockey. 

Kelly Paton will be the Golden Hawks’ new head coach and manager of women’s hockey operations taking over as the successor to Rick Osborne, who held the position for 15 years. 

Despite the struggles of the last two years, having finished last in the OUA both seasons, Paton will still have big shoes to fill considering the success Osborne had had in the 13 years prior to the last two. Osborne was a five-time OUA coach of the year in addition to winning nine OUA titles and one CIS title. 

Paton, regardless of this, is quite confident in her ability to bring Laurier women’s hockey back to its ways. 

“Early on as a coach, I’ve been able to have success with the teams that I’m leading. But I do think I’m continuing to grow as a coach as well. I like to think I’m pretty confident. I’m going to make some positive changes at Laurier that hopefully are going to lead to success both on and off the ice,” Paton said.

Paton has reason to be confident as she comes in quite accomplished as a former player and coach. After a decorated career at the University of New Hampshire from 2006 to 2010, being a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award presented to the top Division I player in the nation, a first-team All-American, a Hockey East first team all-star along with winning New England player of the year and Hockey East co-player of the year, all in 2010. 

In terms of her U-Sports experience as a coach, she comes in having led the Western Mustangs the last two seasons putting together a 39-19 record, regular season and playoffs combined, in addition to winning the OUA title and taking silver in the U-Sports national title game. 

“We’re going to try and work back to achieving excellence and having success, like the years that they’ve had in the past.”

Her vision for this program long-term happens to be exactly what she has accomplished before. 

“We’re going to try and work back to achieving excellence and having success, like the years that they’ve had in the past. You know, working back to provincial championships so that once you can establish that, then moving forward and looking to try and compete nationally as well,” Paton stated. 

“It’s going to be a process over time that’s going to allow us to build back up to being where we want to be from a competitive standpoint but there’s going to be some shifts in culture and maybe just some of the principles around the game that the girls are really going to have to absorb and apply and learn early on so we can have positive change for next season,” she added.

A new coach, especially one that’s had success, taking over a struggling program comes with expectations. One thing Paton knows; things don’t change overnight. 

“Well there’s a lot of unknowns right now. I think we have a great opportunity in the summer over the next three months to build relationships and for me building a staff that’s going to support me and my vision,” she said. 

“For the players as well, making a commitment of working hard over the course of the summer and building their strength and conditioning so that when we all get together as a group in September, we’re in a good spot, we can define some pretty clear expectations based on what our goals are as a group.”

While expectations might not be clear for the season as of yet, the expectations for the players is clear.

“For me, we just want the girls to come in with an open mind, positive outlook on the potential that we could grow into but at the same time, just understanding that it is going to be a process and things aren’t going to change overnight and there’s going to be a lot of investment in effort especially but overall day-to-day habits that are going to contribute to the success that we potentially will attain this year.”

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Rookie Anthony Sorrentino is a reason for hope for the Hawks Wed, 14 Mar 2018 11:00:36 +0000

Photo by Luke Sarazin

The last couple of years, the Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team has been on a bit of a come up.

After missing the playoffs for the previous few years, they have managed to be able to not only make the playoffs but also get home-ice advantage. While they have had early exits, there is hope, especially with new faces. One of them being Anthony Sorrentino.

Hailing from Woodbridge, Ontario, the 6’4”, 215 lb centre has had quite the journey leading up to establishing himself on this Golden Hawks squad.

He spent two years playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) where he played on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and the Halifax Mooseheads. Following that, he played for the Trenton Golden Hawks of the Ontario Junior Hockey League last year, where he excelled and won the league championship.

“Obviously, learning and maturing to be a better hockey player through the ranks there where it’s taken a lot more serious … trying to bring that same mentality to the OUA has been vital to me. I’ve always been a guy who cares a lot about hockey and my passion for the game is really strong,” Sorrentino said.

“The last three years, I was able to take my game from a level where people kind of passed up on me and I was kind of an afterthought and now I was able to play junior in the Quebec league. Those [experiences] have helped me mature as a person,” he added.

Some athletes have certain things from their past that drive them. Much of the time, they have to do with people who doubted them in the past. All the questioning of how far an athlete can go or being passed up on is something that leads to a chip being on one’s shoulder. That happens to be the case with Sorrentino.

Coming into his first season he played all 28 games, finishing with nine goals — tied for the team lead — seven assists and 16 points, with the Golden Hawks finishing 15-10-3.

Individual accolades don’t seem to be emphasized with Sorrentino though.

“When it comes to individual goals, I base that off of team success.”

“Last year, I came off a championship in Junior A and there’s no better feeling in the world when it comes to hockey,” he said.

“So, I think my goals coming into any season, especially at Laurier and next year and the years moving forward, is to win the championship and participate in the national championship.”

“I think next year, we’re really capable of doing that, so I’m really excited and a lot of the guys are excited as well.”

While acknowledging the want for a deeper playoff run as well as the fact that it “starts individually with my own play,” there’s more than the want to win that drives him to be the player he wants to be and for his team to have the success he wants them to have.

Some athletes have certain things from their past that drive them. Much of the time, they have to do with people who doubted them in the past. All the questioning of how far an athlete can go or being passed up on is something that leads to a chip being on one’s shoulder. That happens to be the case with Sorrentino.

“Personally, yeah I do [have a chip on my shoulder.] Obviously back when I was 16 or 17, that chip has grown to the age of 22 and I think that’s what drives me. I get pretty excited when I prove people wrong and that’s what drives me,” he said.

With this year’s early playoff exit as motivation and the growing chip on his shoulder to go along with it, there is plenty to expect from Sorrentino and this up-and-coming Golden Hawks squad for next year and the years to come.

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Hawks give Rick Osborne a victory in his final home game Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:00:57 +0000

Photo by Qiao Liu

Goodbyes aren’t always easy and if you make an impact on someone’s life, they shouldn’t be.

That’s the case when it comes to women’s hockey coach Rick Osborne, who has been with the team since 2003, as he coached his last home game for the Golden Hawks on Saturday. Osborne has won nine OUA championships and even won a CIS championship with his 2004/2005 squad.

He has also received the honour of OUA Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year five times and Laurier awarded his 2013/2014 team with the Glenn Caroll Team of the Year award.

His wins and losses currently sit at 263-94-24 and his playoff stats are 57-26.

Although coach Osborne has had much success in his tenure at Laurier, not every season went so smoothly, including this year.

The team this year is currently 7-16-3 with only two games left in the season.

Though the season may not have gone like the winning ways of the past, coach Osborne is still very proud of the girls, as he said that this year’s team “is so young and did not have the luxury of a lot of older and experienced positive role models like most of our past teams had.”

Still, he notes the positives that can be derived from this year’s experience.

“I have seen the emergence of some of our second and third year players into real consistent performers game in and game out in the second half of the season,” he said.

Laurier has already met both teams only once this season, but both games resulted in a loss. Now with the momentum on Laurier’s side, Osborne is looking to end his career positively.

This year’s squad however has won their last two games — including coach Osborne’s final home game as women’s hockey head coach in an upset win over Queen’s — and three of their last five.

“Our group has played so many OT and close games all season long, and we really believe that we can compete with the teams in the OUA; Cassie Calabrese and Morgan Bates have been strong leaders inside the locker room, and we have worked through some key players missing due to injuries,” he said.

“Maybe the biggest factor for our modest winning streak has been the accelerated development of goaltender Hannah Miller; she is playing like a seasoned vet and the players have rallied around her,” he added.

Though many girls have gone through the WLU women’s hockey program throughout the years, some even coming out victorious like the CIS title winning 2005 team, every team holds a special place in coach Osborne’s heart, including this one.

“The players on this team are good people and that is what I will miss the most,” Osborne said about the current team.

“For the future, it is important for the players to remember that it never gets easier; university hockey or any sport is more like a business than they are used to in minor hockey,” he added.

“Making tough decisions [is] part of the process, they are never personal; they are made to do what is best for the team/program.”

Although Osborne coached his last home game for the team, the team still has two more games left in the regular season against Nipissing and Laurentian, and both games are being played up North.

Laurier has already met both teams only once this season, but both games resulted in a loss. Now with the momentum on Laurier’s side, Osborne is looking to end his career positively.

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Recapping an exciting regular season for the Golden Hawks Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:00:34 +0000

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s hockey team found themselves playing with purpose in their final game of the regular season, as a 4-1 win over Lakehead on Feb. 10 secured the fourth seed in the western conference and home ice advantage in the first round of playoffs.

Following their victory in Thunder Bay on Saturday evening, the Golden Hawks settled to 15-10-3 record for the season.

While looking ahead to the near future and the beginning of OUA playoffs, there is also reason to reflect on the 2017-18 season. As does any hockey team, the Golden Hawks handled their fair share of ups and downs that resulted in where they stand today.

On the offensive, Brandon Robinson led Golden Hawk scoring with nine goals and 14 assists through the year.

In the crease, goaltending tandem of Colin Furlong and Chris Festerini shared the role with only four minutes’ difference in total ice time. Furlong finished the season with a 2.32 GAA and a .927 save percentage, leaving him top three in the league in both categories.

Come the beginning of the season in October, Laurier got off to a hot start and found themselves with an attractive 10-4-2 record at the holiday break. Following said break, and a brief three-game win streak in early January, things took a turn for the worse.

Beginning with a 5-0 battering from Guelph at the Frosty Mug, the Golden Hawks went on to lose the next five straight, only salvaging one point in an overtime loss to the Waterloo Warriors. Though it may have been a measly consolation at the time, that one point would be critical in playoff seeding.

That six-game skid also kept head coach Greg Puhalski at the 99-win mark for nearly two weeks. Finally, on Feb. 7, after one final victory in the Battle of Waterloo, Puhalski reached the 100-victory milestone.

“100 wins as a coach is 100 wins for the program,” Puhalski said when asked what the occasion meant to him. “I want to win like everyone else. It’s always great when you do it together.”

Winning is what they want and winning is what they’ll need to do.

Commencing on February 14th, the Golden Hawks enter the OUA playoffs as the fourth seed and will look to knock off Brock University who slot into fifth.

Laurier and Brock split the season series this year, with the home team winning each of the two games. Head coach Puhalski’s comments only cement the anticipated style of the series, as he touched on how he expects the first round to be very evenly played.

The Golden Hawks boast the fourth strongest power play in the league, at 21.5 per cent. Though their man-advantage is effective, Brock will retaliate with their 84.8 per cent penalty kill, which leaves them fifth in the league.

In regard to what level of scoring to expect, both teams are on the lower end of goals against with only 72 against Brock, and 77 against Laurier. The two shape up to be strong defensive opponents, a characteristic that may result in low scoring and possibly nerve-wracking contests.

In terms of success against Brock, Puhalski noted: “Keys for us are good energy and discipline.”

Both the Badgers and the Golden Hawks don’t usually have a problem staying out of the box, but now it’s playoff hockey, anything can happen.

With game one kicking off on Feb. 14, the teams will match up for game two on Feb. 16 in St. Catharines, then head back to Waterloo on Feb. 18 if a third game is required.

The playoffs are an entirely different animal, and though their regular season play got them this far, the Golden Hawks are entering a different level of competition.

Laurier could find themselves sent home within three days and that’s just the reality of the postseason. As coach Puhalski put it: “Playoffs are a day-to-day living.”

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Overcoming the rookie transition Wed, 07 Feb 2018 12:00:02 +0000

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As young children we first experience the difference between winning and losing, learning that competitive sports is a zero sum game.

For every game that is won, there must be a team that loses. The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s hockey team has been on the wrong end of this equation for more than their fair share this season, with an overall record of 5-16-3.

But, even though the season has not been a winning one, that does not mean that there haven’t been any bright spots.

One such bright spot has been the play of Kaitlin Saxton, who is tied for second on the team with two goals, one of them a game-winner, and has proven herself to be a defensive force on the ice.  All this as a rookie, who is only going to improve as she continues to adapt to U-Sport hockey’s heightened level of play.

When asked about the biggest difference between playing for her home club — the Stoney Creek Junior Sabers — and the Golden Hawks, Kaitlin Saxton had this to say: “The intensity of the game, as well as the physicality and the speed of the game has been the biggest transition for me.”

Of course every transition comes with its bumps and bruises, but the level of play has never proven too great for Kaitlin.

Nor for the rest of the Golden Hawks. Of their 16 losses, Laurier has lost by two or less goals 11 times, three of those losses coming in overtime.

But as much as the losses sting, Kaitlin explained that veteran presences like Cassandra Calabrese and Jamie Watson do not let the team dwell on them.

When asked what the veterans do to keep the team motivated Katilin said: “Keeping warm-up the same every game, trying to keep [consistent], [just keeping] everyone’s levels of positivity up.”

When your team is losing, optimism can be hard to come by, but optimism is in no short supply for this roster, as Kaitlin detailed Laurier’s strengths being team cohesion and united play.

“Our teamwork on the ice is pretty good, we work well together. I think building on that will allow us to have a better season next year.”

With four games to go and out of playoff contention, everything Laurier does from here on out is about next year. Speaking to this Kaitlin said: “[We want] to end on a high note and have everyone playing their best hockey, I think that would be the best way to end. A strong end will allow us to have a strong beginning next year.”

The season has not been favourable for the Golden Hawks, with so many close losses and elimination from playoff contention well before the regular season’s conclusion. But, we must remember that losing does not equal failing.

There have been a number of positives for Laurier this year, silver linings during a losing campaign.

And who knows, maybe with a great off-season and a little alchemy, those silver linings can be transformed into a trophy of gold.

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A sixth consecutive loss puts the Hawks in a bind Wed, 07 Feb 2018 11:59:41 +0000


Photo by Luke Sarazin

The Laurier Men’s Hockey team has had a rocky ending to their season as with only two games left the team is on a six-game losing streak.

They are still 14-14-4 overall and 13-10-3 in conference play, but have recently come off losses from Toronto, Western, Guelph and Waterloo and have gone scoreless in their last two games.

Even with stellar goaltending from both Colin Furlong and Chris Festarini, who have each only allowed one goal in the last two games, the offense just could not find the back of the net on the other end.

The team’s leading scorer Anthony Sorrentino has just one goal in the last six games, and points leader Brandon Robinson has only one goal and one assist.

Yet on the defensive end, the team has let 23 goals get past them when only scoring nine themselves.  Coach Puhalski realises his team’s downfall and has said in order to end the season strong “we need to keep playing and stay with our game plan in order to turn the page. We have not scored the last two games and we have given up two goals in the last two games. There’s good and bad.”

Laurier’s next game is a final Battle of Waterloo on Feb. 7 at the Kitchener Auditorium and although they lost in overtime 5-4 to the Warriors on Jan. 20, that is the team’s only loss to the Warriors and they have three wins over them this season in total.

The Golden Hawks’ final game this season is against Lakehead in Thunder Bay, who they also have two wins over this season. The main battle will take place defensively, as the team has given up over double what they have scored this season.

“To score more, we need to shoot more and we need to fight for space in the scoring areas,” coach Puhalski said.

The team has scored 21 goals against Waterloo this season in both non-conference and regular season play, and will be looking to end their losing streak against them.  “A key for us to beat Waterloo, or any other team, is for us to focus on our own play and what we need to do.”

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Struggles continue for Laurier as Hawks lose 4th straight game Wed, 31 Jan 2018 12:00:48 +0000

Photo by Luke Sarazin

The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s hockey team had their losing streak extended to four games on Saturday, Jan. 27, falling to the Guelph Gryphons by a score of 5-3.

Just over a week after Guelph’s 5-0 Frosty Mug victory against the Golden Hawks, Laurier was looking for redemption on home ice.

The Gryphons struck first, finding the back of the net from a point shot on a clean powerplay cycle. Eight minutes later, Guelph doubled their lead as they caught the Golden Hawks on a bad change and slipped one past Laurier goalie Chris Festerini.

Laurier head coach Greg Puhalski must’ve delivered an inspirational speech during the first intermission, as the Hawks came out flying to start the second period. On a Golden Hawk powerplay, center Anthony Sorrentino inched one across the Guelph goal-line to bring Laurier within one. Later in the second period, Braydon Blight scored his first OUA goal from a quick one-timer on a strong Laurier rush.

“You have to combine all those things and do them together, you can’t be disjointed and just have one,” he said. “Especially when things get close and games are tight, that’s when you have to be at your best, and that’s what we have to learn as a team.”

The third period would open with a 2-2 tie, but Golden Hawk Erik Pushka changed that in no time as Laurier took a 3-2 lead on a powerplay goal from in tight to Gryphons goalie Andrew Masters. Though Guelph was held without a shot for the first six minutes of the period, the Grypons would begin to take control of a close game.

The tying goal would come off of a tip-in that found its way past Festerini, and a tied game with less than two minutes left would result in Laurier calling a timeout. Unfortunately for the home team, the timeout appeared to benefit Guelph too as the Gryphons scored the go ahead goal on a scramble in front of the net. They would add one more into the empty net, and the scoreboard would read 5-3 at the final buzzer. “For the first – I think – two periods, and a little bit in the third we generated some good scoring chances,” coach Puhalski said, post-game.

“Guelph scored with about 10 or 11 minutes left in the third and got a little hungrier than we did and controlled the play … we just weren’t able to play a complete game.”

The Golden Hawk team certainly showed more grind and grit than they did last Thursday evening in Guelph, but with that intensity also came 24 penalty minutes. Puhalski spoke to this level of passion following the game: “We have to play desperate and intense if we’re going to have any chance of winning or beating anybody, it’s just the way we have to play.”

Following this weekend’s action Laurier sits at fourth in the western conference with 29 points in 24 games (13-8-3).

There are four games remaining in the regular season for the Golden Hawks, and in regard to this final stretch, coach Puhalski discussed how the team needs to remain aggressive, hungry and smart to ensure success.

“You have to combine all those things and do them together, you can’t be disjointed and just have one,” he said. “Especially when things get close and games are tight, that’s when you have to be at your best, and that’s what we have to learn as a team.”


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Golden Hawks hit speed bump on the road to the playoffs Wed, 24 Jan 2018 11:59:52 +0000

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman


The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s hockey team was in Guelph on Thursday night to play in their second consecutive Frosty Mug game against the Guelph Gryphons.

Laurier fell to the Gryphons 2-1 in last year’s contest, and the Golden Hawk team was looking to spoil Guelph’s festivities as well as to extend their own three-game win streak.

Unfortunately, this outcome was not in the cards.

Seemingly fueled by the roaring Guelph crowd of 4,715 people, the Gryphons exploded from the gate and took command of a fast-paced and hard-hitting game.

Come the closing buzzer of the first period, the Gryphons were leading Laurier by a score of 3-0 and the home crowd was only growing louder.

Following the harsh opening frame, Hawks goalie Chris Festarini would get the hook after allowing three goals on 19 shots. Colin Furlong would take his place to start the second, in hopes of turning things around for the Laurier team.

The Laurier offensive seemed to perk up a bit in the second period, as the Golden Hawks outshot the Gryphons by a tally of 12-6 and pushed back against the powerful opponents. This being said, they couldn’t solve Gryphons goalie Andrew Masters and the second period would end with Guelph leading 4-0.

The Hawks then played the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 20. Although the game was a hard fought battle, with the Hawks coming back from an early deficit, Laurier ended up falling in a shootout.

Come the third, Laurier ran into the same troubles, and would eventually find themselves on the wrong end of the first shutout in Frosty Mug history.

Guelph would take the game by a score of 5-0, outshooting the Golden Hawks 29-26.

“We did not match or exceed Guelph’s intensity to start the game,” head coach, Greg Puhalski, said.

“We simply needed to be ready for a tough battle.”

In wake of the unsightly first period, the Golden Hawks still managed to outshoot the Gryphons 19-10.

Despite the shooting efforts on behalf of the Golden Hawks, three of Guelph’s five goals came on the man-advantage, as Laurier only successfully killed off one Gryphon power play.

The Hawks then played the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 20. Although the game was a hard fought battle, with the Hawks coming back from an early deficit, Laurier ended up falling in a shootout.

Laurier settles to a 6-8-3 record on the road, which contributes most of the losses in their 14-10-4 overall record.

Following this weekend, Laurier finds themselves in third place in the Western Conference, right behind York University.

With six games remaining in the regular season and playoffs on the horizon, the Hawks are looking to enter the post-season in a comfortable position.

“We need to play with more desperation in our game,” coach Puhalski said in regard to success in this final stretch.

“When we have played hungry, our game has been very good. That’s what we need to win in the playoffs.”

Laurier heads to London this Thursday to take on the Mustangs, before playing host to the Gryphons again on Saturday afternoon.

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The lone bright spot in a tough season Wed, 17 Jan 2018 12:00:50 +0000

Photo by Luke Sarazin


It has been another tough season for the Laurier Golden Hawks women’s hockey team this year.

Following last year’s 3-21 season, the team has only become younger. With young teams, struggles are to be expected as they grow together and learn to win.

Having started out the season 0-5, there would come a change in net for the Hawks. Enter, Hannah Miller.

For Hannah, it only took one game in net at a young age for her to fall in love with it. From there on, she has stuck with it, even playing with older girls at certain points of her career.

“I skipped my second bantam year and went to midget a year early. So, I was in grade nine and I was playing against grade 12s and I think skipping my bantam year really helped me stay patient and calm in this league,” she said.

Her competitive spirit on the other hand, in addition to her abilities, is the thing that has allowed Laurier to be more competitive than people would assume considering their 2-13 record.

It doesn’t take much to see the kind of confidence and level of maturity she possesses for an 18-year-old first-year player.

Normally, first years may not expect to play much. Newer players often take time to adjust and get to the point where coaches feel they are ready to be thrown into the fire.

Miller is quite different.

There is a higher level of understanding that she possesses of how big of a role she plays and the level to which she is needed.

Seeing herself as the tone-setter of the team, “in a quiet way,” she feels like she has to have a high level of confidence in herself.

“I’m the last one in the net on the back of the ice, so everyone’s looking at me,” Miller said. “If I have a bad game everyone’s going to see it, compared to a player.

Miller likes to extend this confidence to her teammates on a consistent basis.

“If my team sees I’m confident, they’re going to be like ‘hey Miller’s confident in the net, I’m going to be confident because she’s confident.’ So, as long as I’m confident, I know my players can be confident on the ice and we can produce to the best of our abilities.”

Her competitive spirit on the other hand, in addition to her abilities, is the thing that has allowed Laurier to be more competitive than people would assume considering their 2-13 record.

It’s also evident in her expectations coming into this season.

“Coming into the season, I wanted to be the starter. I expect to be the starter. I knew I’d compete hard for it. I want to try my best to get rookie of the year. Then from there, I know it’s going to be hard to make playoffs this year but even next year, taking those personal achievements into next year, just trying to get something going with my team,” she said.

Being third in the OUA in save percentage and sixth in goals-against average as a first year could have some on a high but she considers her season’s performance to be “alright,” so far. Her biggest emphasis is on her team’s performance and ability to try to pull out wins so they could compete.

“I feel very good about [my personal stats]. I know that my hard work in practice has been paying off to get those results in games but still I’d rather take a win and be last personally in the country and have the team first,” she stated.

On a team with no fourth or fifth years and coach Rick Osborne retiring at the end of the season, there seems to be quite the foundation in place  especially with a cornerstone like Hannah Miller  for the team to build upon in the future.

At the very least, the Golden Hawks have definitely managed to find a diamond in a rough season.

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