WATERLOO, Ont. (October 9, 2015) - After missing out on the OUA playoffs for the second consecutive season last year, head coach GREG PUHALSKI and the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team will look to end that streak this season as they open the 2015-16 campaign on October 10.
The Hawks host the York Lions in their home opener this Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Waterloo Recreation Complex.
Laurier enters the season with a nice mix of veterans and youth on their roster. Puhalski has brought in a total of 10 new faces this year from across the country to compliment a strong veteran core that was agonizingly close to the postseason a year ago, missing out by just one point. That group will be highly motivated to close the gap with the teams above the Hawks in the standings last year as the bottom six teams in the OUA West division were separated by just six points.
Leading the charge up front for the purple and gold this season will be a quartet of fourth year players including captain Greg Cerilli of Barrie, Ont., Ryan Lopes of Brampton, Ont., Derek Schoenmakers of Kitchener, Ont., and Mike Webley of Stittsville, Ont.
Both Lopes and Webley were among the Hawks leading scorers a year ago as Lopes collected 19 points for the season while Webley finished with 18. For Cerilli, who missed most of last year due to injury, he will be looking to duplicate his season from two years ago when he finished second in team scoring while Schoenmakers, who had 14 points a year ago, will also be looking to replicate his results from 2013 when he had a team-high 15 goals.
The four veterans will have a beavy of young talent around them, highlighted by some key recruits who played around the Waterloo Region a year ago. Joining the Hawks this season are a trio of rookies who served as captains of local Junior B teams last season including Christian Mroczkowski of Wellesley, Ont., Jordan Delaurier of Iroquois Falls, Ont., and Trevor Sauder of Tavistock, Ont. The trio will be joined by Will Cook of Port Stanley, Ont., a former member of the Wellington Dukes, who showed his offensive capabilities in the preseason, scoring twice in three games.
On the blueline, fourth year Matt Provost of Oakville, Ont., will provide both offence and defence for the purple and gold. Provost finished last season fourth in team scoring with 20 points, which was seventh-best among OUA blueliners a year ago, and he will once again be looked to provide the Hawks with offence from the back end.
Provost will also have fellow fourth year defenders Matt Brown of Calgary, and Taylor D’Andrea of Hamilton, to help solidify the defensive zone. Others who will be vying for ice team include rookie Mac Clutsam of Flamborough, Ont., a former member of the Elmira Sugar Kings, and Laurentian transfer Alex Adams of Orangeville, Ont.
In goal, third year netminder Vinny Merante of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and second year Colin Furlong of Cambridge, Ont., will battle for the number one job. Both players won a game in the preseason, each allowing just a single goal in those victories. If needed, rookie Marc Williams of Waterloo, Ont., a former MVP of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, will be ready when called upon.