by John Payetta
THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – The Lakehead Thunderwolves ended the regular season by falling 4-1 to the Laurier Golden Hawks before a crowd of 2,529 at the Fort William Gardens on Saturday night.
On the evening in which the graduating players were honored before the game, Wolves’ fifth-year senior goalie Justin McDonald made his first start of the season – a classy move by Head Coach Bill McDonald.
The Thunderwolves came out flying in the first, peppering 20 shots on Hawks’ goalie Colin Furlong, but the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes.
The Golden Hawks regrouped in the second and broke the game open with three goals.
Brandon Robinson redirected a shot past McDonald at the 1:29 mark to draw first blood, and then at 6:05 Jeremy Pollara fired a wrister from the high slot that eluded McDonald on the blocker side to put Laurier up by two.
The Hawks got their third score while on the power play late in the period when Christian Mroczkowksi pounced on a rebound after the initial shot bounced off McDonald’s shoulder.
Kyle Jenkins tipped a wrist shot from the point past McDonald 3:40 into the final frame to put Laurier up 4-0.
With the Wolves on the power play, Sam Schutt broke Furlong’s shutout bid with a one-timer set-up by Daniel Del Paggio and Jake Ringuette with 12:41 remaining in the contest.
Total shots on goal in the game were 44-32 in favor of the Thundewolves.
For the night, Lakehead went 1-for-6 with the man advantage, while Laurier was 1-for-3.
The Molson Three Stars of the game were:
- Colin Furlong, Laurier
- Sam Schutt, Lakehead
- Kyle Jenkins, Laurier
The Wolves finished the season in seventh place in the West Division and will meet the second-place York Lions in the first round of the OUA playoffs.
The best-of-three quarter-final series will begin Thursday night in Thunder Bay before shifting to York for game #2 on Saturday night. If necessary, game #3 will go Sunday evening at the Canlan Ice Sports Arena in North York.