An early first period lead and the rabid cheers from Laurier fans weren’t enough for the men’s ice hockey team to pull through against the University of Windsor Lancers at Laurier Brantford’s Homecoming. When the final buzzer sounded on the men’s first game of the season, it was the Golden Hawks on the losing end of a 4-2 score line.
Laurier really controlled all the play early, with most of the first period spent in Windsor’s zone, leading to a goal by rookie defenceman, Peter MacIntosh, only four minutes into the game. Laurier held that momentum going into the second period of play, until midway through the frame when Windsor would tie it up on a goal by Drew Palmer. Laurier then fell behind on a goal by the Lancer’s Derek Lanoue.
However, there certainly wasn’t a lack of fight in the Golden Hawks, as they clawed back to even the score at 2-2 on a hard-fought goal in front of the net jammed in by forward, Ryan Lopes.
But it would be a tough break 37 seconds into the third that ultimately put the game out of reach. With Laurier on a powerplay, the puck got stuck on a wet patch, while the Golden Hawks’ offense was trying to break out of their own zone. Windsor forward, Matt Beaudoin took advantage and easily took the puck in on a breakaway and buried it for a 3-2 lead. And then midway through the period, Jadren Beljo scored to make it 4-2 and put the game entirely out of reach.
Despite the pressure applied, the Laurier offense couldn’t quite break through goaltender Parker Van Buskirk, who made 26 saves in the victory, highlighted by a couple of flashy glove saves late in the game. Laurier’s rookie goalie, Shayne Campbell, was no slouch either, making 27 saves and held his own in his first career start due to the injury to starting netminder, Duncan Long. It will be interesting to see from here on out who Coach Greg Puhalski will stick with as the season progresses.
From here, things get a lot tougher for the Golden Hawks, who travel to Thunder Bay on October 25 to play two games against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves, who are always one of the best teams in the OUA.
Even though it wasn’t the start to the season the team wanted, the hundreds of Laurier fans in attendance at the Brantford Civic Centre got a solid showing out of their Golden Hawks and all stayed until the bitter end. However, it is quickly becoming time to shift their attention to Laurier Brantford’s extramural hockey team, who begins their Challenge Cup defence on November 21 against Humber College.