Power play formula for success

Special teams huge component of Hawks’ winning ways over the weekend

Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica Dik

If you were to analyze the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s hockey team by their power play numbers, the difference between whether or not the power play is clicking is imperative to how well the Hawks perform.

Laurier pulled out with two wins against the Ryerson Rams and the Waterloo Warriors 3-2 and 7-3 respectively, with half of those goals scored with the man-advantage.

“Well prior to this game it’s been a points struggle. We got three power play goals [on Thursday night], which obviously were all big goals for us in a 3-2 win. I think we were 3-for-10 on the night,” he said.

“We tripled our production in one night. We were coming in with one power play goal and to have three for us in one game, regardless of how many opportunities we have is a big bonus,” said head coach Greg Puhalski.

Fourth-year left winger Derek Schoenmakers picked up his sixth goal of the season when he slipped the puck past Ryerson goaltender Taylor Dupuis. Matt Provost scored the game-winning goal with five minutes remaining in the third period.

“[The] puck came up to the top which is where we want it on the power play. Actually a nice lane opened up for [Mac] Clutsam I believe who took the shot and he had a great shot, we had some traffic in front. The goalie really couldn’t track it and it popped out pretty high in the slot to me there,” Schoenmakers explained, on opening the scoring for the Hawks.

If the Hawks want success, they must find a way to work their special teams every night. During the Quebec road trip against the Concordia Stingers and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.

Laurier struggled on their penalty kill and allowed three power play goals to UQTR and another to Concordia.

During these two tilts, the Hawks power play, was non-existent.

Schoenmakers, who also scored another goal and added two assists last weekend, knows how much of an impact a working power play can make to turn the tide in a game.

“Tonight it was really good. The first seven games not so much. We would get set but we just couldn’t create the chances or the shots that we wanted. I think we just simplified it today and just got pucks to the net. Obviously Provost scored one at the end — great shot. Picked a spot and we had a good screen on front.”

“The first seven games were tough, but we’re starting to turn the corner already.”

With the power play and penalty kill units inconsistent at best, Puhalski stresses the importance of both components working to increase production.

“Penalty killing is all about outworking the power play guys, so is power play. You got to out-work the other unit regardless if you’re down a man or up a man, you don’t have that component in your arsenal, then everything else is a struggle,” he explained.

Next, the Hawks will travel out to Montreal to take on the McGill Redmen on Nov. 14 before returning to Oshawa to take on the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks on Nov. 15. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

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