Hawks top Gryphons in shoot-out

Rookies Jason Bergeron and Mitchell Good both scored, and newcomer Paul Bradley got two points and the shootout winner as the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ Men’s hockey team edged the visiting Guelph Gryphons on Thursday by a count of 4-3. The Hawks achieved the hard-fought, victory after they let a 3-1 third period lead slip away.

“We played real well,” commented Laurier assistant coach Curt Fraser. “We did not finish off some chances that we could have used to put the games out of reach. That is where we need to get better; we need to have that killer instinct.”

Third-year Craig Voakes got the only marker of the opening frame when he went in alone on Gryphons’ net-minder Scott Van Bommel after receiving a perfect two-line pass from defenceman Ryan Bernardi. The goal came right after the Hawks had killed a lengthy Guelph two-man advantage.

The second period began with a slew of Guelph penalties as the purple and gold put on the pressure. Nevertheless, the clinical finish eluded the Hawks as they even failed to convert on a 51 second two-man advantage.

Gryphons’ captain Derek Knowles returned Voakes’ favour when he scored only six seconds after the second penalty of the aforementioned five-on-three had expired. Knowles flipped in a rebound over Golden Hawk goaltender Jeff MacDougald spilled a Justin Gvora wrist-shot.

Later in the period, first-year Mitchell Good converted on a three-on-two a mere six seconds after Laurier had killed another penalty. By the time the highly talented rookie Jason Bergeron extended the Hawks’ lead to 3-1 on a beautifully executed mini-breakaway, it seemed as though Laurier would pull away.

Yet the inability to finish seemingly beaten opposition off haunted the Hawks on this night. Voakes was awarded a penalty shot near the end of the period, but seemed extremely lackadaisical in his effort on net. Any further momentum was killed by the fact that the last few moments of the second chapter of the match was filled with Hawk penalties.

The down-but-not-out Gryphons came out flying in the third period and one of their numerous highly-touted recruits Matt Lyall started the Guelph comeback. Lyall beat MacDougald on a screened wrist shot and the Gryphons did not let up.

A shift down-low by centre Thomas Kiriakou ended up with a converted rebound by winger Jon Thomas Macdonald. Macdonald’s equalizer came at 10:03 and the game seemed destined for overtime as the affair turned chippy with cheap shots coming from both sides, and scrums abounding.

Overtime solved nothing, despite the Hawks finishing the extra frame a man up after both of Guelph’s top-two defensemen were given game-misconduct penalties for arguing the initial call.

After Guelph missed their three penalty shots, and Laurier did the same with their first two, newcomer Paul Bradley stepped up with the game on his stick.

“I was actually looking five-hole the entire time,” said Bradley. “But then I saw the glove side open up, so I put it in the right spot this time so I’m happy.”

The former RMC Paladin star fired it in the top shelf sending a relieved Laurier bench into jubilation.

“It’s frustrating,” said veteran goalie Jeff MacDougald. “We had a couple of let downs at the end that they ended up capitalizing on, and we had a couple of chances but we just could not put it away to get that insurance goal.”

“I think we took it to them in overtime,” MacDougald continued. “It was good to come away with it in the shootout.”

The Golden Hawks face York on Saturday, and then begin an extremely difficult stretch that includes visits from the defending OUA champion Western Mustangs, and the always difficult Quebec-based schools of the Université de Québec a Trois Riviéres and McGill University.

As well, the Golden Hawks will make the perilous voyage to Thunder Bay for a two-game set against rivals Lakehead on Nov. 6 and 7.

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