Laurier comes away with huge win over top ranked McGill

 

Photo by Garrison Oosterhof

The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s hockey team suffered a tough defeat at home to Concordia this past weekend, before rebounding with an upset victory over top ranked McGill.

In the first game of the weekend on Friday night, the Concordia Stingers squeezed out a 3-1 win over the Golden Hawks at Sun Life Arena.

Both teams came into the game riding high on momentum from early season success, as they each boasted the third best ranking in their respective divisions.

Concordia would get on the board early, with Philippe Sanche picking up a goal for the Stingers inside the first five minutes of play.

The Stingers’ lead would grow to 3-0 before the 15-minute mark of the first period, prompting Laurier to pull goalie Chris Festarini in favour of Colin Furlong.

Despite being behind a few goals, the Hawks didn’t quit, playing a strong second period. This was capped off with a late tally from Trevor Sauder, pulling Laurier within two heading into the third.

However, Concordia held onto this lead until the final buzzer, largely thanks to a phenomenal third period from goalie Marc-Antoine Turcotte, who finished the contest with stopping 23 of 24 attempts.

“I thought for the most part it was a pretty evenly played game,” head coach Greg Puhalski said about his team’s performance following the loss.

At the midway point of the season, the Golden Hawks find themselves with a 9-3-2 record, good enough for third place in the OUA West Division.

“We made some bad mistakes and they were able to capitalize early. Sometimes the game is about making the most of your opportunities and Concordia did [that] when they had their chances.”

When asked about potential areas of improvement, Puhalski stated that “a lot of the opportunities that Concordia got offensively were when we mismanaged the puck and turned it over.”

“We had full control of the puck and we tried to make too much of a play when a play wasn’t there to be made. That’s an area that we talked about; we knew we had to be really aware of it and be prepared for it, it was just that. Executing it and doing it are two different things,” Puhalski said.

Game two of the weekend saw Laurier pull off one of their biggest wins of the season so far; a 5-2 defeat of a very strong McGill team, who are currently ranked fifth in all of Canada.

The Golden Hawks got on the score sheet in the first period, with a goal from Brandon Robinson, but still found themselves trailing 2-1 going into the second.

Laurier would pull the game back to even, with Christian Mroczkowski picking up his first goal of the season, just a few minutes into the second period.

The Hawks saw an opportunity to pull off the upset and didn’t squander their chances.

Andrew Fritsch scored early in the third period, and Laurier added two more late, on route to handing McGill their second loss in their last ten games.

Robinson added an assist on Fritsch’s eventual game winner, which along with his first period goal, helped him increase his team lead in points to 12.

Colin Furlong followed up his solid relief effort in Friday night’s game with a strong 28 save performance in the win.

At the midway point of the season, the Golden Hawks find themselves with a 9-3-2 record, good enough for third place in the OUA West Division.

Laurier’s next game will be their annual “School Day Game”, taking place at 11 a.m. on Nov. 30 against the University of Waterloo.

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