Men’s hockey splits weekend road trip ahead of showdown at the Aud

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Photo courtesy Allan Fournier/UOIT

The Waterloo men’s hockey team went into the last weekend of October hoping to gain some momentum after a lacklustre 1-2-2 start and came out of it with, at the very least, a little more confidence.

The Warriors played back-to-back games Oct. 28 and 29, visiting the Queen’s Golden Gaels and the UOIT Ridgebacks. They would win their contest against Queen’s by a score of 5-2 but drop their second game against the red-hot UOIT 3-1.

The game against Queen’s was one of the more complete offensive games the Warriors have played this season. Waterloo captain Riley Sonnenburg opened the scoring in the first with a shorthanded goal and would notch another assist later in the period as Daniel Perigo gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead going into the second. Queens would score the next goal midway through the second frame but the Warriors’ leading scorer, Zac Coulter, would restore the two goal lead. Another goal would not come until Queens’ Eric Ming brought the Gaels to within one with three minutes left to go in the game. The tension was short-lived, however, as Waterloo would pot the next two goals on an empty net. Rookies Nick Halagian and Michael Morgan would both score their first career goals for Waterloo.

The final shot count was 30-27 in favour of the Gaels. Waterloo goaltender Mike Morrison would stop 28 of 30 and Queens netminder Kevin Bailie would save 22 of 25 shots directed at him. Four Warriors would enjoy two-point nights, with Halagian, Morgan, Perigo and Sonnenburg all scoring a goal and an assist.

Waterloo didn’t have long to breathe as they took on the Ridgebacks less than 24 hours later. UOIT, coming into the game with the top record in the OUA, was a huge challenge for the visitors who were tired coming into the second half of a back-to-back road game. Goaltender Chris Hurry, starting in his first ever game with the Warriors, put up a solid performance despite the loss.

Regardless of their odds coming into the game, the Warriors played very well. They started the game out very slow — UOIT was flying and managed to snag an early lead just under two minutes into the game. The Warriors played the majority of the first period on the back heel, especially because they had to kill off three penalties in the stanza.

Starting in the second period, the Warriors came out roaring. Unfortunately, that momentum didn’t translate into goals for Waterloo, but they were still putting pressure on the home team and getting a few chances. Unfortunately, UOIT would score on two of their five shots in the period, with forward Connor Jarvis scoring both. Waterloo would fire 16 shots at the Ridgebacks in the period, but had nothing to show for it, down 3-0 going into the last period of regulation.

While the third period was more even shots-wise between the two teams, Waterloo still put up as much pressure as you could ask for. They made a breakthrough at 4:51 of the frame as Stephen Silas scored a sneaky goal behind the Ridgeback net but were otherwise stonewalled by UOIT’s Tyson Teichmann, who made 35 saves on 36 shots for the win. Despite a valiant effort, Hurry would take the loss, saving 27 of 30 for the Warriors.

Waterloo faces their rival Laurier Golden Hawks Nov. 2 as both teams look to establish dominance at the Kitchener Auditorium.

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