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This Week in Golden Hawk Athletics...
This past week in Golden Hawk athletics featured more exciting hockey action from the first placed hockey teams as well as promising starts for the curling teams’ seasons. The men’s basketball team also showed that they may be hitting their stride at the right time as they took two wins out of their weekend at Lakehead. Overall, the 2006-2007 Golden Hawk record now stands at 94-78-10.

The defending OUA champion men’s curling team took to the ice this past weekend, hosting the first of two OUA regular season bonspiels. Playing in three matches, the rink faltered early as they gave up a four point steal to the Toronto team in the second end of their opening draw which led to a 10-3 Toronto win. The Laurier team, led by veteran skip Bill Francis and featuring four returning players from last year’s roster, regrouped to take an 8-1 win over Trent, followed by a 9-3 victory over Queen’s.

Fresh from last weekend’s victory in the Ontario Junior Curling Championships, Laurier women’s curling skip Hollie Nicol led the Hawks to a 3-0 showing in the OUA Women’s East Sectionals. After earning a 9-2 victory over the Toronto rink, Laurier out-maneuvered the Trent team for a come from behind 6-4 win. Continuing their fine play, the team finished the weekend with a 9-3 win over their rivals from Queen’s. Hollie Nichol, a second year student hailing from Markham is this week's Laurier Bookstore Female Athlete of the Week and will be heading her club team in the Canadian National Junior Championship at the beginning of February.

The men's hockey team came out on top of their games with division rivals York and Guelph this week. Hosting the York Lions for their third meeting of the season, York opened the game with quick skating and puck handling, forcing the Hawks back on their heels. However it was Laurier's Rob Dmytruk who broke the scoring open with less than a minute to play in the first period, assisted by Voakes and Peacock. Laurier would go on to score three third period goals before York broke the shutout, ending the game 4-1. Matt Grennier's short handed effort, the third Laurier goal of the game, marked the fifth straight game in which a Laurier player scored while on the penalty kill. Saturday's 5-4 win over Guelph marked the end of that statistical streak, as Laurier avoided the penalty box and incurred only six penalty minutes in the game. The game featured tight action throughout as the teams traded goals in the early going. Laurier took a 4-3 lead when Chris DiUbaldo notched his 13th goal of the season at the 3:17 mark of the third. After Guelph knotted the score once more, the game headed to overtime where Luke Girard provided the game winner for Laurier.

The league leading Golden Hawks women’s hockey team earned gained three points this week in their games against Western and Windsor. Saturday’s 6-0 showing against Western marked the fourth shut-out posted by the team this season, and the third by goalie Morgan Wielgosz who currently sports the fourth best save percentage in the country. The team then traveled to Windsor to face the upstart Lancer team which has gained 2 of their season’s 4 victories in the month of January; having upset Queen’s and Waterloo before their meeting with the Hawks. After a scoreless first period the teams each tallied a goal in the second, with Ashley McMillin the goal scorer for Laurier. Windsor gained the lead again 42 seconds into the third, and on the strength of the play of Windsor goalie Jamie Tessier, a major part of the Lancers’ rise, who was called upon once again in this game as she stopped 48 of 50 Laurier shots, Windsor appeared poised for another upset. A power play goal by blueliner Vanessa Bennett with less than two minutes left tied the game up 2-2, and after an evenly matched overtime both teams walked away with a single point. Laurier remains seven points ahead of second place Queen’s.

The Laurier basketball teams traveled to Thunder Bay for back to back matches with the Thunderwolves, winning three of the four games. The men’s team, needing wins to keep their playoff hopes alive, are now on a three game win streak after defeating the T-Wolves 74-59 and 69-62. The opening game, characterized by lengthy scoring runs, saw the Hawks take a fourteen point halftime lead which they would hold for the remainder as they shot 52% from the field in the second half. Matt Walker was good for 22 points on the evening, with Jeff Mitchell contributing 16 points from the bench. The Lakehead squad rallied in the second match-up, leading for much of the first half and going basket for basket with the Hawks to force an overtime period. Early points in overtime sealed the Laurier victory as the team subsequently shot 6-10 from the line, winning 69-62. Matt Walker, this week's Laurier Bookstore Male Athlete of the Week, turned in another remarkable performance for the Hawks, netting 21 points, 11 boards, and 6 steals. Walker is now averaging 18.5 points per game, placing him fourth in the OUA.

Also winning in Thunder Bay, the women’s basketball team found their stride in the second game of their two game set. After letting a fifteen point lead slip through their fingers in the opening game and facing a thirteen point deficit after the first quarter of game two, a focused Laurier team built three solid quarters of play to turn in their highest scoring game of the season, taking a 91-78 win. Third year guard Jillian Ritsma led the team with 20 points, also leading the Hawks with 15 points in the loss, while forward Laura Pacevicius picked up 19 points in a career high performance.

The women's volleyball team went 1-1 over the weekend, bringing their overall record to 7-7. After winning the second set in Guelph, the team lost a close third set 26-24. Guelph capitalized on the momentum of the third set, defeating Laurier handily in the fourth to take the match 3-1. Danielle Walker led the team with 15 kills as Amanda Komer and Kristi Town split setting duties. Coming home to play division rivals Brock the women came out with a strong opening set, winning 25-13 and looked good in the second set before Brock mounted a mid-set challenge. Laurier regained their composure to secure a 25-23 second set and swept the match with a 25-21 third set. It was Walker leading the Hawks from the right side again in this match, amassing 24 kills for the Hawks.

The men's volleyball team was in action against Toronto over the weekend, playing with consistent pressure to force four long sets against the Varsity Blues. Laurier took the second set 25-23 before being on the short end of 29-27 and 26-24 set scores to fall 3-1 in the match. For Laurier, Chad Hall picked up 12 digs in the back court and the team leader in kills was J-P Wikerd.

Also this week, Laurier Athletics is proud to announce that SCOTT BALLANTYNE will be taking over the reigns of the men's baseball program for the 2007 season. A team member from 1999-2003, Ballantyne has since been an assistant coach under manager Paul Riedel. Riedel is retiring from his position after six years, spanning the lifetime of the young baseball program. This season's baseball team reached the playoffs before losing their best of three semi-final series with Brock.

Here’s a look at the upcoming schedule for the Golden Hawks:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Women's Basketball vs. McMaster, Hamilton 06:00 PM
Men's Basketball vs. McMaster, Hamilton 08:00 PM

Friday, January 26, 2007
Women's Volleyball vs. Guelph, WLU Athletic Complex 06:00 PM
Women's Hockey vs. Queen's, Pillars Pad, RIM Park 07:30 PM
Men's Hockey vs. Lakehead, Thunder Bay 07:30 PM
Men's Volleyball vs. Guelph, WLU Athletic Complex 08:00 PM

Saturday, January 27, 2007
Women's Basketball vs. Waterloo, WLU Athletic Complex 12:00 PM
Men's Basketball vs. Waterloo, WLU Athletic Complex 02:00 PM
Women's Hockey vs. Waterloo, Waterloo 02:00 PM
Women's Volleyball vs. McMaster, WLU Athletic Complex 06:00 PM
Men's Hockey vs. Lakehead, Thunder Bay 07:30 PM
Men's Volleyball vs. McMaster, WLU Athletic Complex 08:00 PM

Sunday, January 28, 2007
Swimming Swim Meet, AC Pool 08:30 AM
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