Game Date/Time: Wednesday, October 28 - 8:15 p.m.
Game Location: Ron Joyce Stadium, Hamilton
Live Webcast: None
Entering the playoffs as the sixth seed in the OUA West division for the fourth consecutive season, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks will be looking to pull off their fourth straight upset of the third seed when they face the McMaster Marauders in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday night.
McMaster won the season series as they earned a 2-0 win on home turf back on September 27 and followed that up with a 1-0 win at University Stadium on October 18.
NEED TO KNOW
- the Golden Hawks head into the playoffs on a five-game losing streak and have not scored a goal since their 1-1 draw with nationally-ranked York back on October 1
- McMaster also heads into the playoffs on a low note as they’ve lost two of their last three games heading into the playoffs
- Wednesday night’s game marks the first time these two teams have met in the OUA playoffs since the 2001 season
- the Golden Hawks won that last meeting by a score of 3-1 en route to winning their second consecutive CIS Championship
MEET THE TEAMS
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (4-8-4) - No. 6 seed OUA West
The 2015 season has been a tale of two halves for the Golden Hawks. In their first eight games of the year, Laurier posted a 4-2-2 record, backed by some impressive victories over the Guelph Gryphons and the Waterloo Warriors. However, the final eight games haven’t been as kind to the purple and gold as they have gone 0-6-2 and have struggled offensively.
Recent history shows though that this team, coached by MARIO HALAPIR, has the ability to make magic happen in the playoffs regardless of their regular season success. In each of the last three years, Laurier has entered the OUA playoffs as the sixth seed in the OUA West division, and each season, they have upset the third seeded team in the first round of the playoffs.
Leading this team’s attempt at completing the 6-vs-3 upset will be third year midfielder Niklas Bauer of Newmarket, Ont. Bauer finished the year tied for fourth in the conference in goal scoring as he finished the season with a career-high nine goals. Although that number accounted for more than half of the Hawks goals this season, Laurier has plenty of other threats who can score, including Nikola Miokovic of Kitchener, Ont., who scored twice this season, along with Tommy Sitaridis of Toronto, and Adrian Bucksam of Mississauga, Ont., who recently returned from injury.
Anchoring the defence for the Hawks will be second year Tahrik Rodriques of Scarborough, Ont., who has distinguished himself as one of Laurier’s best players. He led a group that allowed just 1.25 goals per game this year, ninth best in the 18-team league. The Hawks will need him to be at his very best on Wednesday night as they face a McMaster team that scored 40 goals this year, fourth best in the OUA.
McMaster Marauders (11-5-0) - No. 3 seed OUA West
The Marauders head into the 2015 playoffs with high expectations as the program has made it to the OUA Championship game twice in the past three years, winning it back in 2012.
This season, McMaster lost their hold on one of the top two seeds in the OUA West division as a five-loss year left them behind top-ranked York and second place Windsor in the standings. The result is an extra game for the team from Hamilton as they are forced to take the long route back to the OUA Championship game.
The key to McMaster’s success this year has been their offence which is highlighted by four players who have score six or more goals this season. Yunus Mollayev of Toronto, and Gersi Xhuti of Etobicoke, Ont., lead the way for the Marauders as they have scored eight and seven goals respectively this year.
However, defensively, the team has struggled, especially in their last six games. Ten of the 16 goals they have conceded this season have come in their final stretch of games, including allowing four against the Guelph Gryphons in their regular season finale, a 4-2 defeat.