Hawks clinch home ice in first round of the playoffs
The Hawks had a successful weekend on the ice defeating both the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the No. 3 nationally ranked Ryerson Rams.
The weekend got going with the purple and gold travelling to downtown Toronto to face off against the Varsity Blues. The Hawks played well but were only able to score once, as they shutout the Blues 1-0. Laurier goaltender Colin Furlong made 25 saves and earned himself his first OUA shutout.
Head coach Greg Puhalski didn’t seem concerned that his team only managed to score one goal against last place team: the Varsity Blues.
“We haven’t scored a lot of goals as of late as a team,” he said.
“The real difference is we’re winning a lot more of the close hockey games. As opposed to earlier in the year when we lost a lot of close games and a lot of 4-3 games. We’re scoring a little less but we’re winning more and the wins are what we’re after at this particular time of the season.”
Looking to keep their momentum and win four in a row, the Hawks travelled back home for a Saturday night tilt against the top team in the OUA west, The Ryerson Rams.
The Rams have put together an impressive season going 20-4-2 and are averaging 4.58 goals a game, the most in the OUA.
After two periods of play, the game was tied up at one a piece as Laurier’s Neil Aird and Rams’ forward Daniel Clairmont were both able to find the back of the net.
Laurier would reclaim their lead early in the third when Kyle Morrison fired one home to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
However, the lead would only last a few minutes as Ryerson quickly answered back when Josh Sterk was able to find the back of the net on the power play and tie it up at 2-2.
Ryerson continued to press for the remainder of the third period, looking to take their first lead of the game, but they couldn’t seem to solve Furlong as the Rams outshot the Hawks 17-5 in the third period.
This one required overtime.
The first period of overtime came and went without a goal and double OT of three on three was needed.
In the second overtime period, Laurier’s Danny Hanlon scored and secured the victory for the Hawks and snapped the Rams winning streak at seven games.
Puhalski spoke about how important it was to get these two wins heading into crunch time.
“For us, its about looking to maintain momentum and play good hockey,” he said.
“As you head into the playoffs, you want to be playing your best hockey to build confidence with yourself and your teammates. We want to make sure we have our momentum going the right way.”
With a big weekend for Laurier on the ice, they were able to secure home ice advantage in the opening round of the OUA playoffs.
“It’s about building momentum and feeling good about yourself. If you’re able to secure some home ice you have a little better feeling about the regular season. It doesn’t guarantee anything — home ice isn’t like it used to be years ago. It’s not as intimidating as it was once,” Puhalski said.
The Hawks will look to keep their streak alive when they host the Windsor Lancers to close out the regular season Saturday at Sun Life Financial Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.