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(Photo Credit: Thomas Kolodziej)
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PREVIEW: Hawks face cross-town rival Warriors
WATERLOO, Ont. (February 12, 2013) - Fresh off another first place regular season finish, the No. 4 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks will begin their quest for another OUA Championship banner on Wednesday night when the face the Waterloo Warriors in Game 1 of their best-of-three quarter-final series.

Puck drop on Wednesday will be 7:30 p.m. at the Waterloo Recreation Complex with the game available live on Hawk TV Live and on Radio Laurier. Game 2 of the series will go on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Columbia Ice Field with Game 3 returning to the Waterloo Recreation Complex, if necessary, on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

The Hawks grabbed top spot in the OUA this season thanks to a 21-2-3 record while posting a league-high 99 goals and allowing just 46, second best in the conference. While not as strong as their record has been in past years, Laurier accomplished this feat against perhaps the strongest opposition they have ever faced in the OUA. The top four teams (Laurier, Guelph, Queen's and Western) all finished the year ranked in the Top 10 across Canada, combining to lose just 14 games in regulation between them.

On the other side of the ice, the Warriors return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season. Waterloo finished the year with a 9-15-2 record to clinch a playoff berth by one point over the York Lions. The Hawks' cross-town rivals earned the berth thanks to a stingy defence which saw them allow just 63 goals this season, fifth best in the conference. However, Waterloo also managed to score just 33 times, the worst total of all 11 teams in the OUA.

This season, Laurier and Waterloo squared off on three difference occasions and based on their records and statistics, the results were not surprising. The Hawks swept all three games, scoring 13 times in the process while not allowing the Warriors to score a single goal. However, while this matchup looks lopsided on paper, Laurier should be prepared to face a Waterloo team that is playing some strong hockey as of late, holding both Queen's and Guelph to one-goal victories last week.

Offensively, the Hawks have a number of weapons to choose from as they had four players finish in the Top 20 in scoring this season. The group is led by fourth year forward Brittany Crago of Stouffville, Ont., who led the team in points (25) and assists (19). As for goal scoring, Laura Brooker of Fergus, Ont., Devon Skeats of Whitby, Ont., and Jessie Hurrell of Palgrave, Ont., all found the back of the net 10 or more times this season so look for them to continue that trend in the postseason.

In goal, head coach RICK OSBORNE has run with both of his netminders, Erika Thunder of Buffalo Point, Man., and Kayla Brown of Lively, Ont., at different points this season. Both players had strong seasons but after a strong performance against Queen's last Saturday, it can be expected that Thunder will get the nod to start the series.

As for the Warriors, their team had just three players score five or more goals this season and two of them will be key for Laurier to shut down to have success. Kelly MacLean of St. George, Ont., and Marissa Redmond of Ajax, Ont., had 15 and 13 points respectively this season and will be look to continue to provide offence in the playoffs. In goal, netminder Rebecca Bouwhuis of Orillia, Ont., appeared in 23 of Waterloos 26 games and should play every minute of the series for the Warriors.

Tickets for Game 1, and Game 3, if necessary, are $10 for adults, $5 for Laurier and Waterloo students, $8 for seniors and $5 for children under 12.
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