Golden Hawks valiant efforts end in back-to-back losses
The Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team welcomed both the York Lions and Nipissing Lakers in a two game home stand, looking to keep in the win column and carry the momentum from their 3-2 win over the Carleton Ravens the previous weekend.
The 2-3-1 Golden Hawks took on the 1-4 York Lions in their seventh game of the year. After allowing three goals in less than six minutes, Laurier’s abysmal play put them in a pit early, one too deep for the home side to climb out of, despite a valiant effort. Maybe it was the poor start or perhaps the inexperience of this young team, but the passes weren’t connecting, and plays weren’t going as they were drawn up during the first period timeout.
Laurier appeared lifeless until a late goal by Caleb Petrie with the help of Isaac Sooklal got Laurier on the board in the last two minutes of the period. Despite this, Laurier still returned to their own locker room with a bad taste in their mouths after allowing a late goal to end the period.
York received a delay of game penalty for failing to return to the ice a few minutes after the second period was scheduled to start. The power play gave Laurier the life they needed as Bryce Sutherland buried their second goal less than two minutes into the period.
From here, Laurier dictated much of the play, controlling the puck most of the time and managing to knock York off the puck quickly when in their own defensive zone. This strong play resulted in another goal for Laurier off a beautiful point shot by Tyler Davis whose shot made it through traffic and clean into the net.
Sooklal was credited for the assist, continuing his strong offensive play and is tied with Sullivan Sparkes for team lead in points. The rookie defenseman has looked good on both sides of the ice, saying the coaches have helped him settle into the team.
The third period was much like the first, largely controlled by Laurier, but York’s goaltending and defence held on. Laurier pulled goalie Christian Propp for the extra attacker which saw many good chances for the Hawks who came up just short several times on scoring the tying goal.
Propp had a rough start but was fantastic the remainder of the game, recording a clean sheet in the last two periods, and noted he appreciates the coaching staff for allowing him to settle in and find his game.
Coach Kevin Forrest was unhappy with the poor performance of the team in the first period and the eventual 4-3 loss.
The team set their sights on Nipissing two days later; a team they have not faced in five years. Surely whatever Forrest said after the York game got through to the team, as they were ready to go by puck drop.
From the first whistle to the final buzzer, the Hawks played a much better game, though plagued by penalties. The officiating was nothing short of one sided, favouring the Nipissing Lakers almost all night.
After taking a penalty in the first, the referees called a questionable high sticking call on Ryan Mulholland which was met by the ire of Hawks fans. Shortly after while being down two players, the Hawks conceded the first goal. Laurier would return to their dressing room down 1-0 after the first.
The second period was much the same as the first, with Laurier controlling the play, only to be slowed down by more penalties, to which the Lakers capitalised. Despite being down by 2 goals, to this point Laurier had been buzzing around in the offensive zone generating plenty of chances but unfortunately nothing to show for it, and it would remain this way into the third period.
By the final frame tensions had reached a boiling point and Laurier’s frustration showed as the game became rougher. Again, Laurier continued to drive the play but could not finish. At one point Laurier had a breakaway which was broken up by a Nipissing player who held the Laurier attacker, which resulted in the puck going into the corner and no penalty.
After a play was called dead after a Nipissing player touched the puck following a high stick, the faceoff should have been in Nipissing’s zone. But after vocalisations from away fans, the referee’s conversed a potential missed offside and decided to take the faceoff outside the Nipissing zone.
There would be offsetting minors after a scrum in front of the net as emotions continued to rise. Sooklal was sent to the penalty box first, with Nipissing’s Reilly Mayne being sent seconds later, and as he skated past Sooklal who had the penalty box door open, Mayne spit at Sooklal, which went unnoticed by the officials and criticised heavily by the Laurier bench.
Laurier would manage to score a goal about halfway through the third, but that would be all the Hawks could muster before allowing an empty net goal, and the end of the game, picking up a 3-1 loss.
Despite the defeat, Laurier’s performance was much better than the effort they put up against York, and goaltender Christian Propp made many impressive saves to keep Laurier in the game. The team heads back to the drawing board to prepare for their next matchup against the TMU Bold.