Hawks fall to Warriors 3-2
Nobody likes it when the hottest point of discussion after a game is the referee, but such was the case after Saturday’s tightly contested battle of Waterloo men’s hockey game wherein the Waterloo Warriors defeated Laurier 3-2.
“We had to basically kill off a period of penalties; I think 10 penalties. Some of them were warranted, but I don’t think a lot of them were,” commented an obviously upset Laurier head coach Greg Puhalski after the game.
“For a game of this magnitude, I would just like to see a better job [by the referee].”
Veteran Laurier winger Ryan Bellows took sole possession of first place among Golden Hawk scorers with his 24th and 25th points on the season with goals in the first and second periods. Nevertheless, they were not enough as former NCAA Division I forward (with the University of Alaska at Anchorage) Tyler Moir’s late second period marker proved insurmountable for the purple and gold.
“We had a little let down in the second period,” Bellows said. “In the third period they played solid defense and we just couldn’t get that third goal.”
Largely as a result of all of Waterloo’s power plays, the Warriors peppered Hawk net-minder Ryan Daniels with 46 shots, forcing the Pickering native to be sharp on numerous occasions. A lot of credit is owed to him for keeping Laurier in the game as he made huge save after huge save with a man down.
Bellows opened the scoring 9:21 into the game, beating Warriors’ goalie Keaton Hartigan with a quick wrap-around. Former New Jersey Devils prospect and Western Hockey League veteran Ryan Molle replied 10 minutes later, scoring what was remarkably Waterloo’s only power play marker of the match.
Bellows redirected a Colin Williams wrister at 11:06 of the second for Laurier’s second near the end of the lengthy two-man advantage, but fourth year Warrior Thomas Cardiff responded with his first of the season at 18:13.
Moir finished off the scoring with his eighth at the 19:08 mark of the second frame.
Yet the game itself did not take the forefront in the mind of Coach Puhalski upon the conclusion of the game.
Referee Brent Holdsworth, who refereed last week’s Laurier game at Western wherein the Mustangs were given seven weak power plays to Laurier’s three, was assigned this game as well and put on a performance akin to the Soviet refereeing at the beginning of the Russian leg of the 1972 Summit Series.
Unbalanced, illogical, giving penalties for the smallest thing to Laurier, while ignoring blatant head shots and slew foots from the Warriors; referee Holdsworth was just plain awful.
“I don’t care [if I get fined for saying so],” Puhalski added angrily. “We are here to watch good hockey, and in my opinion he had a bad game. That is not why we lost, Waterloo played a better game than us and that is why they won.”
“But we had him two times and he has not done a good job.”
Fortunately for the Hawks, Western’s home win over Lakehead that happened at the same time means they retain sole possession of second place in the OUA’s Western Conference for the time being. Thursday’s matchup against the Mustangs, however, looks to be the squads biggest of the regular season as extending their lead over Lakehead to three points would be huge heading towards the last seven games of the year.
“We will need to play with better urgency [on Thursday],” said Puhalski. “We need to stay out of the box, whether the referee is calling it tight or not.”