Hockey team 2-0

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ men’s hockey team won two tough games as they kicked off the season this past weekend.

The Hawks beat both the Guelph Gryphons and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks to start the 2009-10 season 2-0.

“We are happy we got out with the wins,” said captain Jean-Michel Rizk.

“It is tough to play the way we did and be happy with the weekend. We were not getting pucks deep, we were not being disciplined with our system and we paid for it. Nevertheless we want to look at it positively: we got the wins.”

On Friday, rookie net-minder Ryan Daniels made 41 saves as the Hawks earned a 4-2 victory over the Gryphons.

Forward Nathan Peacock scored the game winner on a shorthanded penalty shot in the second period, while fourth-year Jeff Borrows netted two and third-year sniper Craig Voakes added a goal and an assist.

Despite being out-shot 43-17, the Hawks stole the opening game of the season.

On Saturday, the purple and gold hosted the UOIT Ridgebacks for their home opener. Fifth-year goaltender Jeff MacDougald looked sharp, making 31 saves as the Hawks edged the improved Ridgebacks 4-3.

Injuries and absences forced head coach Kelly Nobes to play a weakened line-up as the Hawks were missing a number of players, including newly added star forward Paul Bradley.

“Seeing our second and third group producing a goal is good,” said Nobes.

“We are still trying to define ourselves and find our identity. We got the job done tonight, but we have some work to do in cleaning up certain parts of our game.”

Rizk opened the scoring with the Hawks a man up.

His wrister from the slot beat Ridgeback goaltender Jeff Dawson high glove-side.

Then, centre Colin Williams one-timed a pass from second-year Ryan Bellows with 36 seconds remaining in the period, giving Laurier a two-goal advantage.

Hawks defenceman Jordan Bonneville finished a beautiful passing play at 7:30 of the second and it looked as though the Hawks would run away with the game.

However, UOIT had other ideas as Jeremy Whelan and Josh Vatri both tallied in the second with a goal from Peacock in between.

Heading into the third down 4-2, UOIT turned up the pressure and were rewarded when Ridgebacks’ captain beat MacDougald on a screened wrist shot on the power play.

Bagshaw’s marker cut the lead to 4-3, but MacDougald stood strong and Laurier held on to the win.

The Hawks face their first real test next Thursday as they face the Waterloo Warriors at Columbia Street Ice Fields.