Men’s hockey splits weekend

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team, without head coach Kelly Nobes, who was suspended after an altercation with a referee after a game against Lakehead last weekend, faced off against two of Canada’s best teams when they played host to the McGill Redmen and the UQTR Patriotes. The Hawks’ upset the number-four nationally ranked Redmen on Friday and lost to the Patriotes on Saturday.

Chad Kennedy counted for four points and Paul Bradley continued to wield his hot hand with three points of his own, as the Hawks surprised McGill 8-4 on Friday. Six different men had multi-point outings for Laurier while they shut down the high-powered McGill offence, allowing only one goal in eight Redmen power play opportunities.

“We knew we had to be real tight; they had not lost a game yet this year,” said Laurier assistant coach Luke Dubbin. “We got on them early, and just kept going at them.”

Saturday’s game against the Université du Quebec á Trois Rivières was a polar opposite to the one the night before. The visiting Patriotes got on the Hawks quickly, using their speed and skill to capitalize on some brutal Golden Hawk puck management errors and take away a 5-3 win.

The two teams, who last faced off at the Waterloo Recreational Complex in the 2006 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) gold medal game, exchanged markers in the first seven minutes of the game. Former QMJHL veteran Guillaume Chicoine fired home a wrist shot from the high slot to put the Patriotes ahead, while Bradley evened up for the purple and gold on the power play right at the seven-minute mark.

After Bradley’s tally, the Patriotes turned on the heat, scoring three unanswered goals to open up at 4-1 lead.

In the third period, Hawks’ captain Jean-Michel Rizk made the game 4-2 just over a minute after the Patriotes scored their fourth goal.

Less than a minute after that, however, the Patriotes were given a gift when a shot by Maxime Levesque was called a goal after it clearly hit the cross-bar.

Bradley scored his second of the game, making the score 5-3, but that was as close as the Hawks would come.

“We came out pretty flat in the first 20 minutes,” said Bradley. “We were just sitting back too much and we did not stick to our system and they capitalized on their chances. Once we were down it was too much to crawl back.”

“We played with a lot of desperation in the third,” added assistant coach Trevor Fraser. “Unfortunately we were down by too many by then.”
The 7-3-1 Hawks now hit the road to visit Carleton and Nipissing, the third and fourth place teams in the OUA’s Eastern Conference, after facing first and second place last weekend.

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