Hawks open 2012 in style

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Maybe all they needed was a little “R and R.”

Wilfrid Laurier University’s varsity men’s and women’s hockey and basketball teams have been on fire this past weekend, with the most surprising upset coming in the way of a 77-69 women’s hoops victory over Canada’s No.6-ranked Brock Badgers this past Saturday.

The team rolled over the Waterloo Warriors last Wednesday, 71-55, and the two wins places them in third in the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) West division at 7-3.

Their male counterparts have been virtually unstoppable with the men’s basketball squad’s only loss coming to the nation’s top team, Carleton, on Dec. 3. The boys’ 9-1 record has them ranked eighth in Canada. After an off-season full of hype and expectation, the court stars haven’t disappointed.

Matt Buckley, Kale Harrison, Maxwell Allin, Patrick Donnelly and Kyle Enright have led an explosive offence, leading the OUA with an incredible 95.33 points per game, but the team won’t be patting themselves on the back too much.
The 9-1 Lakehead Thunderwolves roll into town this weekend, and first place in the West will be up for grabs.

But the men on the court haven’t bowed under pressure; something that will only get harder to do as the season progresses and the playoffs get closer. But so far, full marks should be given for the best season Laurier’s hoops boys have enjoyed in their history, and the squad will soon eclipse their 13-win season of a year ago.

The team defeated the Warriors and Badgers this past week.

On the ice, the women’s hockey Hawks (ranked second in Canada) have kept up their machine-like pace, and find themselves at the top of the OUA’s heap with a 15-0-1 start.

This is nothing new for a team that has only lost eight times in 124 regular season games since the 2007-08 season, with three of those coming in overtime.

And they’ve been getting the job done by committee. No Hawk resides in the OUA’s top ten in scoring and captain Abby Rainsberry is closest to the leaderboard, filling slot 12. Rainsberry is having her most productive offensive campaign of her four years in a purple and gold uniform, notching seven goals and nine assists in just 16 games, to go with her intangible leadership qualities that have her regarded so highly by her teammates.

Sophomore sensation Laura Brooker is also looking to improve upon a rookie year for the ages, one in which she scored 19 goals. She’s got 11 already, with 11 games to go.

Erika Thunder is the league’s top netminder with a 1.58 GAA and a .912 SV%. Thunder has handled her starting duties tremendously well, filling in for a graduated Laurier icon, Liz Knox.

The squad beat the University of Windsor and the University of Western Ontario by a combined score of 9-6 this week.

The men’s hockey team, however, has been the team in most disarray to finish 2011. Head coach Greg Puhalski has had to deal with three players who chose to leave the team in October due to philosophical differences in left-winger Kain Allicock, and defencemen Phil Magistrale and Garrett Sinfield.

A depleted lineup struggled through the fall semester, but a win against the OUA’s top team, Western earlier in the year, and a 6-1 thrashing of Brock on Saturday are positives the team can take with them in the New Year. A 7-4 loss to the Mustangs in London was the only defeat Laurier recorded on the week.

The team stars a collection of ten rookies out of 20 roster spots, including recently-joined former Kitchener Ranger, Mike Mascioli.

The team’s 5-12-1 record has them in the eighth and final playoff spot.


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