Men’s hockey opens 2-0
For new head coach Greg Puhalski and the Golden Hawks men’s hockey Team: so far, so good.
The purple and gold took both legs of a season-opening home-and-home series with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks last Thursday and Saturday with 8-0 and 6-4 victories respectively.
The Oct. 7 home opener was all Laurier as they dismantled a Ridgeback defence incapable of dealing with the Hawks’ puck movement.
“It’s nice to score some goals,” Puhalski said. “We buried our chances; we had some good puck movement and power play success.”
It was a balanced attack that ultimately crushed the spirits of the visitors as seven different scorers lit the lamp for Laurier.
Additionally, five of the eight markers came from rookies as four freshmen tallied for the first time in the purple and gold uniform.
“A lot of our first-year guys came out and played well,” commented second-year forward Mitchell Good. “They proved that they deserved to be here and that they are going to help us during the year.”
Good was flying all night, continuing his strong play from last year and throughout the pre-season. His three points paced the Hawks while first-year Ottawa native Mike Doran scored twice in his first game in University.
“It feels really good,” added captain Jean-Michel Rizk. “If we stick to the game plan and play a simple game, then we will get rewarded offensively.”
“It was a good start, we are not going to get too excited about it,” added Puhalski. “We have a game against them this Saturday, and we know they are going to be much better than they were tonight.”
Puhalski proved to be prophetic as Saturday’s game was much tougher than the previous one.
The Hawks jumped out to a 3-1 lead with two goals from Jean-Michel Rizk and one from former Gatineau Olympique Brendan Taylor, but this time the Ridgebacks did not give up.
Two mid-second period goals by UOIT forwards Brendan Wise and Tony Rizzi evened the game up and proved that the Oshawa-based school would not be blown-out again.
Nevertheless, when Rizk completed his hat-trick at the 18:08 mark of the second period, the Hawks didn’t look back.
The teams traded third period markers before rookie Zach Woolford put the game away with an empty netter, giving Laurier a hard-fought 6-4 victory.
This marks the third season in a row that the Hawks have started the year with two wins.
However, the purple and gold skaters will have a much tougher test for the next three games as they head on the road to face Brock, Waterloo and Western.
This road trip will truly show what this team is made of as the Hawks are not traditionally a very good road team. Their next home game is Oct. 23 when they host the Brock Badgers at 7:30 p.m. at the Waterloo Recreation Complex.