Stumbling out of the gate
A leftover bitter taste from their 1-3 pre-season record had the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ men’s hockey team (0-2-0) pumped and ready to go for their season opening game against the Nipissing Lakers on Oct. 7 at the Waterloo Memorial Recreational Complex.
But it couldn’t save them from their first defeat, a 5-4 loss to the Lakers followed by a 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday.
Friday’s game got off to a fast-paced start with both teams coming out aggressively. Four penalties against Nipissing in the first period gave Laurier two separate two-man advantages leading to a goal by Kain Allicock.
Early in the second, forward Mitch Lebar received a beautiful pass from Mitchell Good on a two-on-one rush to net his first goal as a Hawk. James Marsden followed up less than a minute later to give the Golden Hawks a three-goal lead.
But by this point, a spark ignited in Nipissing, as they scored four unanswered goals in the second period and the game winner with just over two minutes left in the third frame to secure the 5-4 win.
A brief fight with 1:25 left concluded what was an intense game between the two teams.
Ryan Daniels still managed to come away with 31 saves and is showing promise towards another outstanding year.
“If it wasn’t for Daniels, the score could’ve been a lot worse,” said manager and head coach Greg Puhalski. “We’re not happy with our competitiveness right now and the way we were playing,” added Puhalski.
“We need to string together some good practices for next week and get back to basics doing the simple things well.”
Laurier was also outshot 36 to 23 and finished with a dismal 1-9 on the power play.
James Marsden and Kain Allicock both finished the game with a goal and assist to take the lead on the Golden Hawks’ offence.
Puhalski also added, “It wasn’t a good start and we’ve got a lot of work to do. Two teams outshot us, outworked us and outhustled us on our own rink and that is something we will have to address.”
Despite their powerful opening, the Golden Hawks just couldn’t hold on to that fire for the rest of the game.
The team will look to reduce turnovers and take better advantage of the power play as the regular season is now underway.
After coming in strong for the first period for the second game in a row, Laurier also failed to secure a win against the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday.
The team will hope to change their fortunes during their next two road games in Quebec against Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Friday and Concordia Saturday.