Hockey Hawks eek out two wins

The Golden Hawks Men’s Hockey team was anything but impressive; but they did find a way to get two wins against the Windsor Lancers and the York Lions this past Thursday and Saturday respectively.

Last Thursday, Windsor net-minder Frank Dayus was superb, allowing only two goals on 40 shots while Laurier goaltender Ryan Daniels earned his second shutout of the season making 25 saves in the affair. Rookies Thomas Middup and Ben Skinner counted for the Hawks as they buried just enough of their many quality chances to get a big two points.

Saturday’s game in Toronto at Canlan Ice Sports Arena, the home of the York Lions, was completely a different story. The Hawks played with no energy and very little creativity, with the exception of a one-minute window in the first period. Nevertheless the Lions showed their lack of talent, and could not take advantage of Laurier’s lethargy as the Hawks found enough offense for a 4-2 win.

“We are not happy with the way we played tonight,” said Golden Hawks head coach Greg Puhalski. “We are fortunate to come up with the victory.”

Although the Lions came out with loads of enthusiasm and possession, it was the talent of the Golden Hawks that allowed them to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Fifth-year Ryan Bernardi notched his fifth of the year 2:42 into the game; and then Jordan Bonneville put Laurier two to the good at the 11:35-mark when he slammed home a rebound on the power play.

Dynamic Hawk forward Mitchell Good showed his talent only 13 seconds later, splitting the York defense and firing a beautiful shot high-glove side over a helpless York net-minder Travis Rolheiser.

The Hawks were sluggish and complacent after that goal, and by being careless and lazy, allowed the Lions back into the game. Kitchener-native Matt Thomson, a defenseman who had a cup of coffee with the Kitchener Rangers in the 2005-2006 season, started the comeback 8:19 into the second period.

“When we got up three-nothing we just stopped playing hockey,” Puhalski added. “We let York take it to us. They kept working and skating, and we just did not have a good game.”

Former Tier II Junior ‘A’ high scorer and power forward Chris Jones cut the once commanding three-goal lead to one 4:54 into the third period, but it was as close as they could get as Laurier goaltender Ryan Daniels was brilliant when the uninspired, low-talent –but-high-enthusiasm Lions got their chances.

Rookie Zack Woolford added an empty netter for the Hawks to seal the 4-2 win with ten seconds remaining in the game.

“We need to play better than we did tonight in the games coming up,” the Coach continued.

The wins, as unimpressive as they were, gave Laurier three-point lead on third place Lakehead for second in the OUA Western Conference.

With three games remaining in the regular season, the fate of the Hawks is in their own hands. With three wins, Laurier will finish the season in second place in the conference, guaranteeing them two rounds of home-ice advantage, should they progress past the first round of the playoffs.

Their next game will go February 5th as they take on a tough Guelph team at the Gryphon Centre. The Gryphons are coming off of two wins over Lakehead, and a 3-2 victory over Laurier in Guelph on January 21st.

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