– Craig Hagerman, staff

The Laurier Brantford men’s extramural hockey team took part in their first tournament of the year last Thursday.

Despite not coming out on top, the boys made it apparent that this is a team with a ton of skill and one that should not be taken lightly. The Golden Hawks were one of ten teams in the tournament that took place at Sheridan College and opened the tournament against McMaster University which they dropped 4-1.

Despite this rather one-sided score, Manager of Athletics and Recreation Greg Stewart felt the team played a strong game and that they definitely had the game within their hands.

“We kept it close until the middle of the 3rd where they scored a couple to seal the win,” Stewart said. “I think the outcome would have been different if we had our full squad.”

The Hawks shook off the loss and went back at it in their second game, this time against Seneca College. Laurier played a very hard-fought game; leading during parts of the game and ultimately fighting back to tie it up, but ultimately the Hawks fell short to Seneca losing 4-3 in a shootout.

This loss was also a harder one to swallow as one Laurier player was ejected from the shootout due to what the refs called “not following shootout protocol,” a rule that Stewart feels sceptical about. “To be honest, I am still not convinced there is a rule that allows an official to do this.”

The team finished off the tournament with a game against Durham College. And once again the team played a very strong game. Unfortunately, they came out behind the eight-ball 4-3, on a goal that was scored with just 5 seconds left in the game.

Despite failing to get a win during the tournament, the players believe there were a lot of positives that can be taken from each game.

Golden Hawks’ Drew Priestap, who helped to lead the team’s offense in the tournament with three goals and one assist, was very impressed with the way the team came together in such a short amount of time.

“We generated a lot of offense, and seemed to work well together for the first time playing together,” Priestap said. “We have good team chemistry and hopefully we can build on that going forward.”

This is not to say the team doesn’t feel there are some things they would like to improve on.

“I think we need to work on the defensive side of our game and help out our goaltenders. We have a lot of offensive prowess but need to remember there are two ends to the rink,” says Priestap.

Another big reason why the team may not have been able to secure a win was the fact that the team entered the tournament short-handed. This was due in part to the fact that the tournament was on a Thursday and not the weekend.

As Stewart believes, “The team did reasonably well considering we took down 10 of our 18 members.  Since it was a Thursday tourney, not all members were able to attend.  Those that did fill in last minute performed well and we were grateful for their commitment and eagerness. Many of the players missing were of Junior C calibre or higher. Certainly hard to replace.”

The boys will be getting right back on the ice as the team will travel to Humber College on Friday where they will take part in their second tournament in two weeks. The team again will look for some more strong offensive performances, but with a larger roster expected to hit the ice this time around, the boys are hoping they can win a few.

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