Struggles continue for Laurier as Hawks lose 4th straight game

Photo by Luke Sarazin

The Wilfrid Laurier University men’s hockey team had their losing streak extended to four games on Saturday, Jan. 27, falling to the Guelph Gryphons by a score of 5-3.

Just over a week after Guelph’s 5-0 Frosty Mug victory against the Golden Hawks, Laurier was looking for redemption on home ice.

The Gryphons struck first, finding the back of the net from a point shot on a clean powerplay cycle. Eight minutes later, Guelph doubled their lead as they caught the Golden Hawks on a bad change and slipped one past Laurier goalie Chris Festerini.

Laurier head coach Greg Puhalski must’ve delivered an inspirational speech during the first intermission, as the Hawks came out flying to start the second period. On a Golden Hawk powerplay, center Anthony Sorrentino inched one across the Guelph goal-line to bring Laurier within one. Later in the second period, Braydon Blight scored his first OUA goal from a quick one-timer on a strong Laurier rush.

“You have to combine all those things and do them together, you can’t be disjointed and just have one,” he said. “Especially when things get close and games are tight, that’s when you have to be at your best, and that’s what we have to learn as a team.”

The third period would open with a 2-2 tie, but Golden Hawk Erik Pushka changed that in no time as Laurier took a 3-2 lead on a powerplay goal from in tight to Gryphons goalie Andrew Masters. Though Guelph was held without a shot for the first six minutes of the period, the Grypons would begin to take control of a close game.

The tying goal would come off of a tip-in that found its way past Festerini, and a tied game with less than two minutes left would result in Laurier calling a timeout. Unfortunately for the home team, the timeout appeared to benefit Guelph too as the Gryphons scored the go ahead goal on a scramble in front of the net. They would add one more into the empty net, and the scoreboard would read 5-3 at the final buzzer. “For the first – I think – two periods, and a little bit in the third we generated some good scoring chances,” coach Puhalski said, post-game.

“Guelph scored with about 10 or 11 minutes left in the third and got a little hungrier than we did and controlled the play … we just weren’t able to play a complete game.”

The Golden Hawk team certainly showed more grind and grit than they did last Thursday evening in Guelph, but with that intensity also came 24 penalty minutes. Puhalski spoke to this level of passion following the game: “We have to play desperate and intense if we’re going to have any chance of winning or beating anybody, it’s just the way we have to play.”

Following this weekend’s action Laurier sits at fourth in the western conference with 29 points in 24 games (13-8-3).

There are four games remaining in the regular season for the Golden Hawks, and in regard to this final stretch, coach Puhalski discussed how the team needs to remain aggressive, hungry and smart to ensure success.

“You have to combine all those things and do them together, you can’t be disjointed and just have one,” he said. “Especially when things get close and games are tight, that’s when you have to be at your best, and that’s what we have to learn as a team.”

                                     

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