The Golden Hawks will play in Brantford Saturday night for Laurier Brantford’s homecoming, and it could not come at a better time. After dropping three close games on the road to start the year, the Hawks will make their home debut in Brantford at the Civic Centre against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves.
The last two games saw the team give up 2-0 and 1-0 leads, respectively, and if they can put together a full 60 minutes of solid play, they could be in line for a better result Saturday night. They are going to need it against a tough Lakehead team that is ranked 10thin Canada.
Laurier coach Greg Puhalski is excited about the opportunity to play at Laurier Brantford’s homecoming. “It is good for us to play in front of our fans, and a good chance for the fans here to see some good hockey. We are proud to be a part of homecoming and to wear the purple and gold for Laurier Brantford,” said Puhalski. Puhalski knows how important it is to play a good game Saturday night. “Lakehead is going to be one of those top teams. They have good depth, well balanced, and can score from three lines,” Puhalski said.
Puhalski feels ok about how they have played, and knows they will continue to get better. “They were not exactly the results we wanted, but our play was better than the preseason,” he said. It is a young team, with most of the players new to the university hockey scene. They are still a team searching for chemistry and trying to identify their strengths and weaknesses. “We are still in that identity phase, where every game takes on a life of its own. Early on, you are still trying to find out who you are,” Puhalski explained.
“I don’t think we are going to be a team that scores a lot of goals, but we are looking to keep it low scoring and play tight checking. We need to stay out of the box, stay disciplined and keep it simple. When we establish that type of game it will open up to better chances and opportunities.” The Hawks are not going to be a team that relies heavily on one player, but they’re going to need a team effort every night for them to be successful.
However, one player that will factor heavily into Saturday night’s game is goalie Ryan Daniels. He has played great early on this season, and been one of the team’s best players. Daniel’s importance to the team is huge, Puhalski said. “Goaltending is extremely important at the university level, and we need him to be a big piece of the puzzle. He gives us a chance to win. We don’t want him to feel like he has to do it all himself.” And if Daniels is solid and the team plays their game, it’s going to be a great homecoming for Laurier Brantford’s fans.