A game to forget Men’s hockey gives up the lead and falls yet again in overtime

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Rookie Zac Coulter scored his second OUA goal, netminder Mike Morrison saved 38 of 41 shots, and the Waterloo Warriors men’s hockey team dropped a 3-2 overtime decision against the rival Laurier Golden Hawks Oct. 22. An event to celebrate Laurier’s Brantford campus homecoming, the game was played at their Civic Centre in front of an audience of 574.

Waterloo managed to grab and hold onto a 2-0 lead at the midpoint of the game, but were outplayed through most of the 60 minutes and couldn’t hold on. The loss marks the fourth of the young season, with two of those losses occurring in the extra frame.

The game started out evenly enough, but an early power play for the Golden Hawks — though they did not capitalize on it — shifted momentum to their side. The period would end scoreless and, aside from a scrum near the end of the frame that resulted in three penalties, was relatively uneventful. Shots at the end of the first were 14-4 in favour of the Golden Hawks.

Waterloo would score two goals straight in the second followed by a lone Laurier tally. The first goal was scored with the man advantage, as Mike Moffat sent a crisp cross-ice pass just below the left circle where Stephen Silas was waiting. Silas buried the shot to give the Warriors an early lead. This lead was compounded at 11:07 of the period as Coulter buried a rebound that Golden Hawks goalie Chris Festarini failed to corral and the Warriors were suddenly up 2-0. Despite a strong effort to get out of the second with the two-goal lead, Laurier was not to be denied as Luke Hietkamp brought them to within one with 11 seconds left in the period. After a ton of pressure in the offensive zone, a rebound in front of the net was shoveled in past Morrison and the Golden Hawks finally had something to show for their efforts. Shots at the end of the second were 30-13 in favour of the Hawks.

The third period was more even than the first two, yet still skewed against the Warriors. A lead meant that Waterloo just had to play a disciplined, defensive game and they managed to do so for the majority of the period until disaster struck with 3:30 left to play. A quick shot from Laurier forward Kyle Morrison was tipped in by Erik Pushka for the equalizer, and overtime would be needed.

The extra frame was played four-on-four as per OUA rules, and the extra space was easily reflected in the pace of the game. Waterloo’s best opportunity came from Eric Diodati as he entered the Laurier zone with speed and wristed a shot that was handled by Festarini’s glove. Laurier would seal their comback shortly after as a quick transition by Danny Hanlon forced the Warriors defenders to get back quickly. The puck found its way to Derek Schoenmakers’ stick  near the left hashmarks and he rifled a shot past Morrison to put the game away.

The final shot total was 41 to 21 for the Golden Hawks. The Warriors are off to a disappointing start after a promising 3-0 (against OUA opponents) preseason which featured a decisive 7-3 victory over Laurier. It is worth noting that of their five games, three of them have extended past regulation. While their defense has been acceptable, the Waterloo offense seems snakebitten. They haven’t scored more than three goals in regulation despite firing more than 30 shots at their opponents in three of five games this season.

Waterloo goes on a little roadtrip next week, taking on Queen’s and the UOIT Ridgebacks on Oct. 28 and 29, respectively, before meeting Laurier again on Nov. 2 for their showdown at the Kitchener Auditorium.

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