The Lakehead Thunderwolves fell 8-3 to the Laurier Golden Hawks at the Sun Life Arena in Waterloo on Friday night.
Danny Hanlon got Laurier on the board at 9:08 of the first, but E.J. Faust evened the score for Lakehead by putting the puck past Hawks' netminder Chris Festarini at 15:04.
Mitch Wright replied to put the Hawks back ahead at 17:16.
Will Cook converted on a Laurier power play with just two seconds left in the period, knocking a rebound past Lakehead goalie Nic Renyard after he made two good initial saves, giving the Hawks a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Laurier cracked the game wide open in the middle frame, a period in which a total of six goals were scored by both sides.
Brandon Robinson took advantage of a lucky break 1:13 into the second when a Lakehead defender mishandled the puck in front of the net where the ice was still wet from the flood, and then Cook fired home a rebound at 2:47 to give the Hawks a 5-1 lead and chase Renyard from the Wolves' goal.
Scott Gall got one back for Lakehead at the 6:30 mark, with Jake Ringuette and Dylan Butler getting the assists, but Cook completed his hat trick at 10:36 when he walked right in front from behind the Lakehead net and found the twine behind Justin McDonald.
Gall struck again for Lakehead a minute later after a nice set-up by Patrick Murphy, with Butler getting the other helper.
Mac Clutsam finished off a two-on-one break by converting a cross-crease pass at 14:09 to put the Hawks ahead 7-3 heading into the third.
Laurier controlled the play in the final stanza and forced McDonald to come up with several big saves, but Robinson lifted the puck over his shoulder while the Hawks held the man-advantage at 14:26 to round out the scoring.
For the night, Lakehead went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Laurier was 2-for-3.
The Thunderwolves will look to rebound in the Saturday rematch, with the opening face-off set for 7:07 p.m.