Men’s hockey tops U of T

Photo by Marco Pedri
Photo by Marco Pedri

Coming off a narrow 2-1 victory against the Windsor Lancers on Friday evening, the Golden Hawks men’s hockey team continued their strong play on Saturday, earning a 5-4 win over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at the Sun Life Financial Arena.

Despite some sloppy passing from both sides early on, the Hawks controlled the play early and had a number of good scoring chances in the first few minutes.

Just over three minutes in, Erik Pushka won a faceoff just outside of the U of T zone. The play progressed, with Pushka eluding the U of T forwards and carrying the puck towards the net. Running out of room, Pushka faked a shot and slid around behind the net for the wrap-around attempt. Waiting out front, Will Cook and Kyle Morrison hacked away at the rebound, before Morrison was able to bury it over the outstretched pads of the U of T goaltender, Andrew Hunt.

Midway through the first period, Golden Hawk starter Chris Festarini came up with back-to-back glove saves to keep the Hawks ahead 1-0.

With just over six minutes to go in the first, the Varsity Blues’ Casey Knight set up Charlie Connell who tucked it under the blocker of Festarini to tie the game at one.

Just two minutes later, Toronto continued their pressure, capitalizing on poor passing by the Golden Hawk forwards, leading to an odd-man rush and an easy goal for Knight.

The period would end with the Golden Hawks down 2-1.

U of T took a quick hooking penalty just 12 seconds into the second period, giving the Hawks their first power-play of the game.

However, it was the Varsity Blues who would dominate the two minutes, putting constant shorthanded pressure on Laurier goaltender, Colin Furlong, who replaced Festarini to start the second.

Furlong would handily dismiss the shorthanded rush from Toronto, making two stellar blocker saves as the power-play drew to a close.

Only two minutes later, Laurier’s Christian Mroczkowski made a great feed from the side of the net to winger Matt Dupont just above the hash marks, who buried it over to Hunt’s outstretched glove.

The deadlocked game would not last long, however. Just over eight minutes into the frame, Furlong was unable to handle a weak shot from the blue line, allowing Toronto’s Max Lindsay to collect his own rebound and put the Varsity Blues up 3-2.

With about five minutes to go in the period, Mroczkowski won a great battle along the boards in the U of T zone before rifling a pass to defenseman, Derek Schoenmakers, who fired a wrist shot through traffic, tying the game at three.

Laurier would successfully kill off a power-play late in the period and the frame would end locked at three a piece.

For the second straight period, the Varsity Blues got into penalty trouble early, with Connor Bebb called for interference just under two minutes into the third.

The Golden Hawks would capitalize this time around, with Fritsch taking the cross-ice feed from Schoenmakers before burying a slap shot between Hunt’s legs.

The Hawks continued to dominate the third period. Bursting into the zone with just over 13 minutes to play, U of T goaltender, Hunt, deflected Derek Schoenmakers wrister directly to Mroczkowski, who buried a snap-shot into the open side.

The 5-3 advantage would prove to be enough, despite a late onslaught from the U of T offence.

With their goalie pulled with roughly two minutes to play, the Varsity Blues frantically applied pressure, but Furlong remained poised, making two confident glove saves to keep the Hawks ahead.

U of T would narrow the deficit to one, with a late goal from Corey Jackson, but the Laurier defence would prove too much and would hold on for the 5-4 victory.

On the backs of three-point performances from Mroczkowski and Schoemakers and a 25 save performance from Furlong, the Golden Hawks earned their second win in as many days.

The Hawks are back in action Friday, November 25, at the Sun Life Financial Arena for the first of two games against Lakehead.

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