Laurier widens gap in playoff hunt

(Photo by Cristina Rucchetta)
(Photo by Cristina Rucchetta)

After a tough fight through the season and a bitter 6-4 loss to the University of Waterloo on Friday, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team managed to defeat the Bro

ck Badgers 4-2 on Saturday, moving closer to clinching a playoff berth.

“We knew [Brock was] in a real dog fight to make the playoffs,” said head coach Greg Puhalski. “They’re a hard working team and they were going to come out with their best effort.”

Getting to this point wasn’t easy, as Brock struck early with a goal just 1:23 into the game on the powerplay, leaving the Hawks trailing going into the second.

The first intermission sparked the team as they exploded offensively scoring three goals in the second frame.

Despite Brock’s effort to come back in the third, team leading scorer Tyler Stothers put the final nail in the coffin with his tenth goal of the season as he led the Hawks with two goals and two assists.

“We like Tyler,” said Puhalski. “When he’s on a roll he’ll find ways to score. He’s a good team player and when he scores it’s going to be really helpful.”

At the other end, goaltender veteran goalie Ryan Daniels did what he does best with 42 saves as he earned his tenth win of the season.

“We let them get a quick one on us and [Daniels] didn’t let it bug him,” Stothers said. “He stands on his head and gives us a chance to win and you can’t ask for much more from him.”

The Golden Hawks know they have to improve on starting off strong if they’re looking to make a playoff run this year.

“Our starts the last two nights weren’t good,” said Puahlski. “We have to get better starts and maintain throughout the game. It’s competing and battling for 60 minutes and that’s still what we’re after.”

Stothers said that consistency will also be a key area of improvement for himself and the team.

“It’s something we struggled with all year, we know we can play and beat anyone in this league but it’s a matter of getting the start we want, staying out of the penalty box, capitalizing with special teams and working on the penalty kill,” he said. “All the guys were buying in tonight and we came out with a win because of it.”

The Hawks will look to keep their momentum going as they hit the road with a game against the York Lions in Toronto on Thursday and then meet with Brock in St. Catharaines on Friday.

Puhalski knows that they’ve still got their work cut out for them in the final stretch of the season.

The Hawks will also hope to clinch their playoff spot.

“Anybody can beat anybody on a given day in this league and there’s nobody that’s head and shoulders above anyone else so you have to be prepared to work and battle and if you don’t then you won’t win,” he said.

Puck drop on Thursday night is set for 7 p.m.

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