Two third-period goals sink Lancers

The weather outside may be getting colder, but the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s hockey team is certainly heating up.

The men put forth one of their best efforts of the season in a gutsy 4-2 win over the Windsor Lancers on Saturday. The win brought their record to 3-3 in 2012, a strong improvement after a difficult 2011 campaign.

“We had a pretty good road game on Guelph on Friday. I thought the way we ended that game as far as battling and competing was the way we played today,” said coach Greg Puhalski. “It was a good home game for us; one of the better complete games of the season.”

The Hawks came out of the gate flying, following a tight 5-3 loss the previous night in Guelph. The team had a number of opportunities to get the lead early in the game.

Despite the strong start, it would be Windsor who would take the early lead, when DJ Turner circled into the slot and beat Hawks’ netminder Ryan Daniels glove side.

The Hawks would respond shortly after when some nifty stick work from Mitchell Good created an open shot which he put over Savelli’s shoulder. Minutes later, Laurier would jump in front after Alexander Poulter’s face-off win set up a Frank Riddle point shot that would be tipped in by Jonathan Veerman for a 2-1 Laurier lead at the break. It was Veerman’s first ever Ontario University Athletics (OUA) goal.

In the second period, the Lancer’s would respond, after a Zackory Ray penalty put Laurier down a man. D.J Turner would drive down the side of the net, and his rebound would bounce to a wide open Evan Stibbard to even the score at two apiece.

Halfway through the third period Laurier would take a lead that they would not relinquish. Good battled around two Windsor players to get a backhanded shot on net, and the ensuing rebound would be put home by Mitch Lebar. Mike Mascioli iced the game with an empty net goal.

“We did the little things right, we had a good week of practice. We focused on things like puck management down low, and making it easier on our defencemen. I think that was what put us over the edge,” said Good following the win.

Daniels finished the game with 34 saves, while Trevor Atkinson, Jonas Strom and Zack Woolford also tallied assists in the game.

“I think everyone came to play, that’s all that matters. We started off well. We have been struggling with that,” added Good “We got contributions from Zack Woolford and that line, and we need that right now when we are short (players).”

Among some of the absences from Laurier’s line up have been defencemen Chad Lowry, and forward Joseph Vanni. Filling the void has been a collective effort.

“We competed for 60 minutes tonight. That was our biggest attribute. We had good goaltending from Daniels, we are playing with a short bench tonight,” said Puhalski. “So everybody had a piece in our win tonight and it was good for our team.”

The coming weekend will be big for the Hawks if they want to climb the standings. The team faces basement-dwelling University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa on Friday, but winning on the road has been difficult.

However, Good believes his team will be ready.

“I think its pre-game preparation on our part. We aren’t ready to play coming off the bus. I think we are getting better at that.”

Laurier closes out next weekend with a rematch against Windsor on Saturday at Sun Life Financial Arena. The puck drops at 3 p.m.

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