Success in playing together

‘Team game’ important for success

‘Team game’ important for success | File Photo by Serena Gill

If the Wilfrid Laurier men’s hockey team wants to win more, they need to start playing a team game.

The Hawks ended the 2015 portion of their season with a 5-3 loss to the Guelph Gryphons on Dec. 3 on home ice before they upset the York Lions 5-2 the next night. This brought Laurier to an overall record of 7-9 to close out the first half.

“20 minutes is not going to be good enough to win too many games,” head coach Greg Puhalski said after the loss against Guelph. “There’s always lessons to learn from it. It’s a tough thing for us — sometimes we’re stubborn and we don’t want to learn the lessons. We got to make sure that we learn the lesson here and make sure we’re ready from the start of the game.”

After the Hawks took a 1-0 lead against Guelph Thursday, the Gryphons answered back with three unanswered goals in the second period to take a commanding 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. Laurier battled back and tied it off a slap-shot from the point from second-year defender Matthew Francyzk in the third, but an untimely penalty against Laurier gave the Gryphons the advantage midway through the third period. They would capitalize and that stood as the game-winning goal.

“We did lose this game on mistakes but it was nice to see the guys battle back and regroup and just come together as a team,” Francyzk said. “That was nice to see, but it should have been a better effort.”

Thursday was also the Hawks’ third annual school day game, where Laurier played in front of an electric 2993 fans. For the last two years, the Hawks played against their cross-town opponents, the Waterloo Warriors. According to Puhalski, playing against the Gryphons this year brought a different feel to the crowd than past seasons.

“Today was probably a little bit more pro-Laurier because the two previous games we played was against Waterloo. There might have been a few Waterloo fans,” he explained. “The kids were great today, just a fun atmosphere.”

“It’s always amazing having a full barn, especially with these young kids who are maybe looking to play hockey,” Francyzk said. “It’s really nice to see them come out and support us and the school and I know they look up to us as well so hopefully they got a good show.”

The Hawks pick up where they left off on Jan. 7 when they host the Toronto Varsity Blues. Puhalski said that the Hawks won’t have to change much if they want to convert some of those losses to wins come the 2016 portion.

“Just the way we ended it as far as effort, the way we need to start. No team in any league can not afford to bring their work effort,” Puhalski said.

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