Winger Mitchell Good is one of four fourth year players on the Hawks this year (Photo Credit: Adam Gagnon)
WATERLOO, Ont. (October 11, 2012) - The 2012-13 edition of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men's hockey team take to the ice for their first regular season game Thursday night against the Waterloo Warriors.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Ice Fields.
The Hawks are coming off an up-and-down season that saw the team post a 9-17-2 record and qualify eighth for the OUA playoffs. Facing top-seeded Western in the hoping round, Laurier gave the Mustangs all they could handle but were swept in two games by the eventual CIS silver medalists.
Entering this year, head coach GREG PUHALSKI
has once again brought in a large rookie class as he continues to put his stamp on the Golden Hawks. 15 brand new faces will don the purple and gold this season, highlighted by a number of players with major junior experience. Among the names to watch out for as they year goes along include defencemen Matthew Provost of Oakville, Ont., Derek Holden
of Peterborough, Ont., and Dylan MacDonald
of London, Ont., as well as forwards Trent Hawke
of Wiarton, Ont., and Ryan Lopes
of Brampton, Ont.
While the new crop of players will bring a fresh look to the Hawks, as any observer knows, all of Laurier success begins in net with Ryan Daniels
. The Pickering, Ont., native enters his fourth season with the Hawks and is coming off a season that saw him record 817 saves, the most in the OUA, while also finishing sixth in the league in save percentage at 0.916. For the Hawks to improve their standing in the OUA West Division, Daniels will once again need to be at the top of his game.
Moving out to the blueline, team captain Kyle Van De Bospoort
of Pickering, Ont., anchors a young group that includes just two returning defencemen. Van De Bospoort, also entering his fourth year, has been a defensive force for the Hawks over his career and will need to maintain his high level of play to ease in rookies such as Provost, Holden and MacDonald. Frank Riddle
of St. Catharines, Ont., and Chad Lowry
of Waterloo, Ont., are the other two returning members and will get a large share of the playing time this year. However, they demonstrated last season that they can handle the work load after the Hawks were decimated by injuries.
Up front, Laurier's offence is in good hands as the Hawks top five point getters from a year ago all return. That group is led by fourth year winger Mitchell Good
of Wellesley, Ont., who showed last season that he has the tools to be the offensive leader for the purple and gold. However, he won't be alone and is complemented by Tyler Stothers
of Oakville, Ont., Mitch Lebar
of Aurora, Ont., Joseph Vanni of Caledonia, Ont., and James Marsden
of Exeter, Ont.
One player who will be a welcomed sight back on the ice this year is Benjamin Skinner of Markham, Ont. The brother of the Carolina Hurricanes star Jeff, Skinner played in just three games last season, scoring twice, after a rookie season that saw him net eight goals and twelve points. His return will give Laurier another offensive weapon that they can lean on.
Laurier's new-look lineup will be tested early on this year with their first two games coming on the road against the Warriors as well as the Mustangs. The Hawks will unveil their new lineup to their home crowd on October 27 when they host the Guelph Gryphons at the Waterloo Recreation Complex.