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Freiburger's pair lifts Hawks past Badgers
Laurier: 4 Brock - OUA Quarter-final (Game 1): 2

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WATERLOO, Ont. (February 15, 2012) - Tammy Freiburger of Wingham, Ont., scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner late in the second period, as the No. 1 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks grabbed a 1-0 series lead over the Brock Badgers with a 4-2 win Wednesday night at the Waterloo Memorial Recreational Complex.

Playing in just her third career OUA playoff game, Freiburger deflected home a Haley Baxter (Waterloo, Ont.) point shot with under five minutes remaining in the second period for what proved to be the eventual game-winner.

"She was a threat all-night long," said Head Coach RICK OSBORNE of the OUA's leading goal-scorer during the regular season. "She's been a great player all season long and she's going to be a great player in the playoffs."

In typical Laurier fashion, the Hawks came flying out of the gate, outshooting the Badgers 17-4 in the opening frame. However, after a couple of big saves from Brock netminder Emily Kelly of Port Elgin, Ont., the Hawks finally opened the scoring off a great individual effort from Devon Skeats of Whitby, Ont. Skeats picked up a loose puck inside her blueline and flew down the right wing before cutting to the middle of the ice and firing a shot back across the grain, beating Kelly high over her glove.

"The playoffs are my time to shine," said Skeats of her goal. "I was really happy to get the first goal for our team and get us off to a good start."

The purple and gold continued to pour on the pressure in the second period and Freiburger was rewarded with her first of the game five minutes in when she backhanded a loose puck past a helpless Kelly to increase the lead to two. 

After Freiburger's late period tally, the Hawks seemed to be in control of the game heading to the third but just 14 seconds into the final frame, Jessica Fickel of Fort Erie, Ont., created a turnover before beating Laurier goalie Erika Thunder of Buffalo Point, Man., on just the Badgers 10th shot on net.

Brock would continue to stick around in the period and cut the lead to one after a Brittney Cabral (Hamilton) point shot ricocheted off the crossbar and past Thunder to make the score 3-2. 

The goal seemed to kick-start the Hawks and they controlled the remainder of the play, never allowing Brock to get another quality chance on Thunder.

Katherine Shirriff of Carrying Place, Ont., rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final seconds of the game.

"They're a tough team, a scrappy team," said Osborne when asked about Brocks ability to get back into the game. "We've got some adjustments to make but well fix it for Saturday night."

Thunder, who was making her first career playoff start, finished the game with 11 saves to earn the victory while Kelly turned away 37 shots in the loss.

The two teams will now have two days off between games as Game 2 is set to go on Saturday night in St. Catharines where Laurier will have a chance to win the series. Puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m. at the Seymour-Hannah Centre.
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