Despite a strong third period effort, Laurier’s men’s hockey team was unable to extend their point streak Saturday night, falling 2-0 to the visiting Concordia Stingers.
The streak saw the Golden Hawks get eight out of a possible ten points over a five game stretch, including a 3-2 shootout victory over UQTR at home on Friday night.
Concordia took control of the game right from the opening faceoff, keeping Laurier hemmed into their own zone for most of the first period. The Golden Hawks were sloppy defensively with their passing and clearing attempts and were not able to get the puck deep into the Concordia zone. Through 20 minutes, the shots were 9-3 in favour of Concordia, though neither team had found the back of the net.
It was not until the Stingers opened the scoring midway through the second that Laurier appeared to find their stride.
“It took us about 30 minutes, halfway through the game, until we got ourselves engaged. It was an okay game for us though. We need a little more urgency. I think that’s a big reason we lost,” said head coach Greg Puhalski post-game.
After Concordia took the lead, the Golden Hawks began to up their physicality, which both teams was lacking early on. The Stingers also started following through with their hitting, which led to a more aggressive game in the second and third periods.
However, the attempts by the home side to outmuscle their opponent may have contributed more to their downfall than being advantageous, in the end. The physical nature of the game led to some after the whistle interactions between the two sides involving a lot of grabbing and shoving.
In the opinion of the officials, Laurier was the less disciplined team after the whistle, giving the Golden Hawks five penalties during stoppages throughout the game compared to three for Concordia. These penalties left Laurier with less time to try and mount their comeback.
“We definitely need to be aggressive, just need to be smart. Our players need to be better and hold their emotions in check,” added Puhalski, referencing his team’s after the whistle penalties.
The third period provided Laurier with their greatest chance of getting back into the game. In the period, the Golden Hawks were much stronger offensively and outshot their opponent 17-10. They had many chances in the final minutes of the game, especially after Concordia took a four minute, high sticking double minor penalty with just under four minutes remaining. Laurier also pulled their goalie late, giving them a six on four advantage.
However, Concordia goaltender Philippe Cadorette made many key saves in the final moments and made 32 throughout the game to earn the victory and the shutout.
On the other side of the ice, Laurier goaltender Colin Furlong made 29 saves in his second start in as many nights, after an impressive 52 save effort in Friday night’s game.
Puhalski noted that the game was much closer than the score showed and that his team needs a full 60-minute effort to skate away with a victory.
“I thought we didn’t come out with the urgency we needed to win tonight. We need to make sure we’re ready to play from the start. If we do I think we can come out with the two points.”
The loss drops Laurier into a tie for third place in the OUA West division ahead of their Thursday night game in Guelph against the Gryphons.