Hawks on ice struggles continue

“I don’t think they beat us; I think we beat ourselves and I think we’ve been beating ourselves for a few games now.”

That was what team captain Jean-Michel Rizk had to say after the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ men’s hockey team’s 4-3 loss to cross-town rivals the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday night.

The Hawks have now lost three of their last four games, and they showed why on Saturday night as they got outworked and outplayed by the Warriors.

“We were panicking and throwing the puck away and two to three mistakes, especially against teams like that, will cost us,” said Rizk.

The Hawks saw themselves trailing 2-0 after the first period but they would bounce back early in the second thanks to a beautiful one-time goal by veteran Craig Voakes.

However, that momentum shift was short-lived as the Warriors scored their second power play goal on their third man-advantage of the game. Only minutes after, the Warriors increased their lead, putting themselves up by three, and it appeared as if the game was out of reach.

The Hawks would not go down without a fight and got a power play goal of their own thanks to Rizk’s one-time bullet assisted by Voakes and Bradley to cut the Warrior lead to two heading into the third.

Almost midway into the third, Voakes sniped his second of the night off yet another gorgeous one-timer orchestrated by Rizk and Bradley.

The line of Voakes, Bradley and Rizk were firing on all cylinders as they combined for a total of seven points.

Despite the performance of the elite trio, the Hawks’ lead ended there as they lost for the second straight time against Waterloo, 4-3.

“We came out too late,” said Rizk. “We came out flat again and we didn’t play desperate until we had to: the third period. We can’t do that against good teams. We’ve got to make sure we play 60 minutes.”

Fortunately, one of the strengths of the team thus far has been the great play from the seven first-years.

But as Rizk mentions, the team can’t leave all the work for the rookies.

“They’ve been playing great so far,” he said.

“You look at all those guys from [goalie] Ryan Daniels to [Zack] Shepley on defence and even [Jason] Bergeron up front. However, we can’t expect just our first-year guys to carry us. It’s up to the older guys to help out and do the job too.”

The Hawks are on the road for three of their final four regular season games, which include matchups against the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division leading Western Mustangs as well as the second place Lakehead Thunderwolves.