– Kyle Denton, Sports Editor
Sometimes, the best team doesn’t always win.
That seemed to be the case last Friday when the Laurier Brantford men’s extramural hockey team lost to eventual champions, Redeemer College, 3-2 in the semi-finals.
After two victories, an 8-1 destruction of Mohawk College in the preliminary round, and a 4-2 victory over Lakehead University in the quarters, Laurier Brantford felt confident entering their semi-final matchup.
Although Laurier Brantford were clearly the better team, Redeemer College was up for the challenge and capitalized on their opportunities.
“We had a good start to the tournament in the first two games to send us off to the semi’s. We think we outplayed Redeemer in the semi-final, but the puck just didn’t go our way,” said third-year player Josh Pungitore.
After trading goals in the first and second periods, Redeemer College would score with ten seconds left in the second, giving them a 3-2 edge going into the final period. Although Laurier Brantford received a power play in the final two minutes of the game, it was all for not, as Redeemer College held onto their lead and won the game 3-2.
Greg Stewart, Manager of Athletics and Recreation at Laurier Brantford, saw both teams as being the two most competitive in the tournament, despite their performances in the semi-final.
“I thought the finals were played in the semi-finals, not to take anything away from Bishop’s University. But, we played a mediocre game overall, [Redeemer] just played a mediocre game, plus one.”
The difference in the game was special teams, with Redeemer College converting on two of their three power play chances, a reality the Laurier Brantford squad were well aware of after the game.
“We took a few bad penalties here and there, and that cost us. When you’re only getting two shifts a period, there’s not much you can do, especially when you’re killing penalties.” said forward Michael Mazurek, who contributed a goal and an assist in the loss.
Not taking anything away from Redeemer College, Pungitore said their opponents played well enough to win, and that Laurier Brantford didn’t help themselves on special teams.
“We ran into a little bit of penalty trouble, and the other team used a good mix of size and speed against us.”
It was clear that Laurier Brantford put the best product on the ice, but, as is in sports, sometimes the bounces don’t go your way.
Still, the development of the third year men’s hockey program at Laurier Brantford was a positive one, which progressed through each of the three tournaments they played this school year. This past showing is exactly the level of competitiveness that needs to be displayed in years to come, if the men’s program plans to make a bid to be part of the OCAA circuit in the future.