Mascioli makes immediate impact
It was as if a whole new team stepped onto the ice.
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team battled the visiting Brock Badgers Saturday night, capturing a 6-1 win and snapping their five-game losing skid.
The Hawks seemed like a new team as they bounced back from a tough 7-4 loss against the Western Mustangs the previous night.
Their added flare created strong charisma, and the team mended their flaws from the match before.
It helps to have Mike Mascioli.
Mascioli, the former Kitchener Rangers’ instigator, made his home debut with the Golden Hawks and was a strong presence on the ice.
“I’ve been brought into the system well,” Mascioli reflected on his transition. “I like what coach Puhalski’s done, so it’s been an easy adjustment.”
The adjustment was evident early as the Hawks (5-12-1) and Badgers (8-9-1) exchanged strong offensive chances in the first period.
With less than thirty seconds left, Joseph Vanni would tip a point shot from captain Kyle Van De Bospoort to take the lead.
Mascioli’s style of play was visible from the puck drop. The five-foot-ten right-winger threw heavy hits to spark his team, adding an extra personality on the ice.
“I bring the same type of play [to the Golden Hawks],” Mascioli expressed. “If I’m known for a style of play, I think that I’m just going to bring the same reputation over and try to continue what I’ve done so far in my hockey career.”
Laurier continued a strong offence early in the second when Mitchell Good beat Brock goaltender Kurt Jory, five-hole to go ahead 2-0.
Minutes later, Badgers defender Jake LaPlante would turn over the puck to Hawks forward, Zack Shepley, who made no mistake and extended the lead to three.
Brock’s offence did not go unnoticed as Derek Brochu would go five-hole on Hawks goalie Ryan Daniels to come within two.
But that would be all that passed Daniels. With less than five minutes left in the game, Tyler Stothers buried a beautiful pass by Vanni, stretching the gap back to three.
In a final attempt, Brock pulled Jory to add an extra skater, but the added offence of Laurier was too much, and they would add two empty netters before the final buzzer.
“We battled, and we knew we had it in us,” Vanni commented. “It was a great team effort tonight and that’s why we got the two points.”
Vanni recorded one goal and three assists, while Mitchell Good tallied a goal and two helpers and Shepley, Van De Bospoort and Thomas Middup all added two points each. Trevor Atkinson also had an assist.
Laurier’s Daniels stopped 31 of 32 shots to record the win.
“[Daniels] brings his best effort, and we know he’s going to be solid as a rock back there,” Vanni said.
“He’s our MVP so far this year and he continues to do the job.”
Although he was held off the score sheet, Mascioli’s home debut did not go without comment.
“It’s really nice to be back. That was a big part of me coming here, being familiar with the city. It was an easy decision.”
Mascioli finished his OHL career with the Belleville Bulls before heading to Trenton, New Jersey to play professionally.
He played a few games out east before heading back to Ontario.
“I had some aspirations to try out pro and see what that was like so I went over to the east coast. I realized that it wasn’t for me and I needed my education more, and decided to make the move and come back.”
The Golden Hawks now sit at eighth in the standings. The team ended the season with a surprising second-place West division finish with Daniels leading the way as team MVP.
They’ll head on a three-game road trip, looking for their first win away from the Waterloo Recreational Complex as they battle the York Lions and Waterloo Warriors this weekend.
The Hawks defeated the Warriors 4-2 earlier in the year.
They’ll meet Guelph at the Gryphon Centre on the 20th before heading home on Jan. 21st to face the Windsor Lancers, a team they fell to 4-2 in October.