by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
Goals came in bunches for the Windsor Lancer men’s hockey team this past weekend at South Windsor arena.
The defending OUA bronze medallists kicked off the 2015-16 regular season with a pair of decisive victories over two OUA West division foes – the Guelph Gryphons and Waterloo Warriors.
In the Lancers home-opener on Oct. 7, two Kyle Hope goals in less than one minute sparked a four-goal third period, allowing Windsor to pull away with a 5-1 win over the visiting Gryphons, the defending Queen’s Cup OUA champions.
Head coach Kevin Hamlin said it was a good character win for his young hockey club against a veteran lineup from Guelph.
“From the goalie right out, it was a team effort,” said Hamlin. “It took Hope all of last season to score two and he got two in one shift, so hopefully that is a great thing to come … It was a great win for the Lancers.”
Despite being outshot by the Gryphons 13-8 in the first period, the Lancers held a 1-0 lead after Scott Prier blasted a shot from the point through traffic to beat Guelph goalie Andrew D’Agostini for Windsor’s first goal of the year.
With the score still 1-0 heading into the third period, Windsor jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead with a pair of goals from Kyle Hope just 59 seconds apart. On his first, Hope took advantage of a neutral zone turnover and scored on a breakaway to make it 2-0. Later in the same shift, Hope took a pass in the high slot from Eric Noel and scored high glove side on D’Agostini to match his goal total from last season in the opening game.
However, just 14 seconds after Hope’s second goal, the Gryphons got one back on the power play. Gryphons’ captain Nick Trecapelli’s point shot was redirected into the Lancer net by Scott Simmonds with 14:55 left on the clock.
The Lancers would restore their three-goal lead with a power play marker of their own from Ryan Green on a high blocker-side wrist shot. Right before the final buzzer sounded, Noel scored his first of the season to secure the 5-1 victory.
First year Lancer Blake Richard made 32 saves in net for the Lancers to earn his first OUA regular season victory.
“He gave us what I thought he could give us and I would expect nothing less from our goaltender on any night that we play no matter if it is Mike Doan or Blake Richard,” said Hamlin. “At this level, the goaltender usually determines the flow of the game and ours was a little bit better than theirs.”
Three days later, rookie forward Justice Dundas scored four goals and registered his first CIS hat-trick to lead the Windsor Lancers to a dominating 8-1 win over the Waterloo Warriors Oct. 10 at South Windsor Arena.
Five additional Lancers had a pair of points in the victory including CIS all-Canadian defenceman and team captain Kenny Bradford, rookie Tyson Ness, Mike Christou, Ryan Green and Steve Antony. Windsor went four-for-seven on the power play as Waterloo combined for 26 penalty minutes in the game compared to just 14 by the Lancers.
Andrew Smith scored the only Warriors goal in a losing cause while goaltender Mike Morrison turned aside 42 of Windsor’s 50 shots on a hectic night in the crease. Lancer first-year goaltender Michael Doan made 30 saves in net to earn the win.
The game was knotted at 1-1 well beyond the midway point of the second period before a three goal burst, highlighted by Dundas completing his hat trick, made the score 4-1 Windsor after 40 minutes. The third period was almost identical to the second as the Lancers exploded for four more goals in a span of 6:05 late in the contest to round their two game total to 12.
Hope attributed Windsor’s hot play for a simple team-first mentality instilled during the preseason schedule, which included a road trip to University Park, PA and a battle with the Penn State Nittany Lions of the NCAA’s Big Ten conference Oct. 4.
“I think we’re just playing a great team game right now,” Hope said. “As long as we continue to get better and keep building game by game, period by period and getting better every game the possibilities are endless. You can go anywhere with any team as long as you continue to work hard and learn from every game.”
The win improves Windsor’s record to 2-0 in the early season. The Lancers now hit the road for the first time in the season as they head to Montreal for a double header series against the Concordia Stingers of the OUA East conference. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Ed Meagher arena on both Oct. 17 and 18.