Hawks lose battle

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ men’s hockey team continued its struggle to pick up wins against serious Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Western Conference competition last Thursday.

The season’s second battle of Waterloo ended in the same way as the first one in a 5-4 overtime win for the Warriors.

It was a valiant display of resilience that gave the Hawks the chance in overtime as the Warriors jumped out to a 4-1 lead by the 5:32 mark of the second period.

The fourth tally, courtesy of talented forward Kirt Hill, chased Hawks’ starter Ryan Daniels from the net after allowing four goals on 19 shots.

“They had a few good bounces in the first and second period,” commented Laurier head coach Kelly Nobes. “It was an opportunity to get [veteran goaltender] Jeff MacDougald in the game when Ryan was not having his A-game.”

MacDougald came in after Hill’s goal and was steady, allowing only one goal (the game-winner) on 21 shots in just under 38 minutes of play.

The comeback reflected the 2009-10 Golden Hawks’ reliance on special teams to be offensively successful, as all three goals that brought the game even by 14:02 of the final period were notched with the man-advantage.

Star Laurier forward Paul Bradley had his team-leading 14th goal of the year with six minutes to go to send the game into overtime.

As is customary in the Laurier-Waterloo rivalry, there was no shortage of physicality and rough-housing before and after the whistle. Five 10-minute misconducts were handed out, three to the Warriors and two to the Hawks.

“It is an intense rivalry when you are playing the cross-town rivals,” said Bradley. “You just find a way to play through it … hopefully on the ice you can get the job done regardless.”

Although the Hawks dominated overtime, it was a counter-attacking rush by the aforementioned Hill that ended the game as his snap-shot beat a screened MacDougald 3:13 in.

“I thought our effort was good tonight, especially since we haven’t played in a month,” said Nobes. “They got some fortunate bounces in the first period and we ran out of steam a little bit towards the end of the game. I’m not overly concerned; we picked up a point.”

“There are definitely positives to take out of this game.”

On Friday night, the Hawks managed to get back in the win column with a 4-2 road win over the Brock Badgers. The purple and gold were propelled to victory largely thanks to a two-goal night from second-year forward Jordan Bonneville.

Despite the Hawks’ strong 13-4-2 overall record, they have had only a single win in six games thus far against the top four teams in the OUA’s Western Conference. All four of the one-goal games in those six were losses for Laurier.

This inability to win tight games against in-conference rivals will need to be rectified very soon, as four of their nine remaining matches are against the three teams that join them in the top four spots in the division: Waterloo, Western and Lakehead.

As it stands now, Laurier sits in second place in the OUA Western Conference and lays claim to ninth spot in the national rankings heading into next weekend, where they will return home to take on the Badgers as well as the Guelph Gryphons.

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