WATERLOO, Ont. (from Laurier Golden Hawks) — With 1,005 fans roaring in the stands, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hockey team played their final installment of the Battle of Waterloo where they beat the Waterloo Warriors 4-2 Wednesday night in the Battle at the Aud to give head coach Greg Puhalski his 100th regular season victory.
The win marks the second year in a row that the Hawks have won the Battle at the Aud and also means the purple and gold took the season series 3-1 from their cross-town rivals. Laurier’s victory over the Warriors wraps up the season-long Battle of Waterloo competition with an 11-4-4 record in favour of the Golden Hawks.
After a scoreless opening period, Brandon Robinson (Pickering, ON) started the scoring for the Hawks in the second period with a power play goal. The tally was the former Rangers eighth of the season and gives him a team-leading 22 points for the year.
Midway through the frame the purple and gold tallied two more goals off of the sticks of Trevor Sauder (Tavistock, Ont.) and rookie Kaleb Witzell (Kitchener, Ont.) to secure a 3-0 lead to finish the period. For Witzell, playing in this third career game, it was the first goal of his OUA career and in the process, became the 22nd player to score for Laurier this season.
“It felt good to score my first goal as a Golden Hawk and to ultimately win a game that was so big for us,” reflected Witzell. “What to expect from me is that I will keep it simple and play the best I can in every game.”
Heading into the final frame, Danny Hanlon (Waterloo, Ont.) found the back of the net for his seventh of the season to further the Hawks lead.
The Warriors started to apply to pressure late in the third and responded with back-to-back goals from Keigan Goertz (New Hamburg, Ont.) and Zac Coulter (Owen Sound, Ont.). However, the goals were too little, too late for the hosts as Laurier officially eliminated Waterloo from the playoffs with the 4-2 victory.
Helping pave the way for the purple and gold was defenceman Mac Clutsam (Flamborough, Ont.) who protected the blue line, blocked shooting lanes and tallied two assists on the night.
Colin Furlong (Cambridge, Ont.) was solid between the pipes as he took the win in net denying 37 shots on goal.
“Winning against your cross-town rivals is a special kind of victory, especially since a bunch of the players on the opposing team are friends who I know work hard and are great players,” said Furlong after the victory. “It felt good that we broke the six-game losing streak and most importantly I think it was what the team needed as we head into playoffs. The Battle of Waterloo trophy was just a great bonus.”
On the other side of the ice, Warriors’ goalie Mike Morrison took the loss as he stopped 43 of the 47 shots on goal.
The Hawks will look to continue their winning ways in their last regular season game as they face off against the Lakehead Thunderwolves at 7 p.m. ET Saturdayat Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay, Ont.