Hawks start 2013 on high note

(Photo by Nick Lachance)

(Photo by Nick Lachance)

Greg Puhalski couldn’t have asked for a better New Year’s present from his team.

The Wilfrid Laurier men’s hockey team opened 2013 and the second half of their season with back-to-back victories over the weekend, winning the battle of Waterloo against the UW Warriors 2-1 on Thursday before defeating the Brock Badgers 4-3 in a road game on Saturday.

“It’s a good win for us after not playing for a month,” Puhalski said Thursday.

“I thought we played with pretty good energy. For us, work ethic is always going to be a key issue. [Ryan] Daniels had a solid game and good contributions from a lot of people as far as effort wise.”

Fourth-year goaltender Daniels stopped 63 of the 67 shots he faced over the weekend.

After finishing off the first half of their season with four consecutive losses, the Hawks looked for a fresh start on the ice to open the second half of the year.

With the two wins, Laurier moves out of last place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West division and now sits in seventh place, a point ahead of the Badgers and the UOIT Ridgebacks.

The weekend also featured a new addition to the team, as former Ontario Hockey League (OHL) forward Derek Shoenmakers made his Laurier debut Thursday night.

Against Brock, Shoenmakers recorded two goals — including the game-winner — and an assist.

“It’s been a while since I’ve played a game to be honest with you but it was good,” Shoenmakers said Thursday.

“The team played really well top to bottom. Danny played well in net and it was great to come away with the win.”

Laurier picked up Shoenmakers from the Peterborough Petes. While Shoenmakers could not confirm whether or not the trade deadline for the OHL — which is currently set for Jan. 10th — will affect him playing for WLU, dressing for Laurier does not affect his OHL eligibility.

“There’s no rules that restrict him from going back and playing in the OHL,” Puhalski said.

However, Shoenmakers believes that Laurier is a “natural” fit for him.

“I’ve been around this school a lot. I know a lot of people that went to this school and I’ve heard nothing but good things and it’s been great so far,” he said.

“I think for him, he’s looking at this as an opportunity to kickstart the next phase of his career,” Puhalski said regarding Shoenmakers’ possibility of returning to the OHL. “So, we’re glad to have him and I know he’s blending in well with his teammates.”

Laurier will host the eighth-place UOIT Ridgebacks Thursday before travelling to Windsor Friday night. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

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