/Huskies shutout in first home game since shutdown 
Haliburton County Huskies centreman Nick Athanasaskos battles Wellington Dukes defender Alex Case during Ontario Junior Hockey League action on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena in Minden. The Huskies lost 3-0 to the visitors, which were backstopped by their goalie Ethan Morrow, who earned the shutout./DARREN LUM Staff

Huskies shutout in first home game since shutdown 

By Alex Gallacher

Following a red hot performance by Wellington Dukes goalie Ethan Morrow, the Huskies were left seeing red after suffering a 3-0 shutout loss Saturday, on Feb. 5 at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena.

This was the team’s first home game after the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) postponed their season for close to a month (and 125 games) due to the province’s return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, which started on Jan. 5 and ended Jan. 21.

The first period saw neither team score, but the two Huskies powerplays saw the blue and white pepper Morrow with shot after shot. However, their efforts went in vain. With the teams heading back to the locker rooms at the first period intermission tied, they came out swinging in the second. 

After Huskies forward Payton Schaly took a tripping call early in the period, the Dukes managed to break through and end the deadlock. Dukes player David Campbell set the table with a pass to the point, where Graham Dickerson’s wrister found its way through traffic past Huskies goalie Christian Cicigoi. Just like that, it was 1-0. 

After the goal, Haliburton County found themselves with three consecutive penalties, including one five on three opportunity for the Dukes. The Huskies special teams were exhausted at the end of the second. Despite the dominance in puck control from the Dukes, the Huskies kept the deficit to one. 

Wellington took two separate penalties in the first seven minutes of the third, and the only sentiment that sentiment that that up is missed opportunities for the home team. The Huskies threw everything they had at Dukes goalie Morrow. Huskies players Schaly, Nick Athanasaskos, Nate Porter, and Oliver Tarr all had come close to scoring, but all came up short. 

The Dukes doubled their lead at 12:26 in the final frame.

After an errant pass ended up on the stick of Dukes player Corbin Roach, the speedy forward kicked in the jets and headed down the ice. Spinning around and beating Cicigoi, the Dukes now doubled their lead 2-0 despite the Huskies maintaining puck possession and offensive pressure. 

The deal was sealed following Dickerson’s second of the night, with an empty netter. Despite out shooting the Dukes 36-16, the Huskies were unable to beat Morrow who stood tall like a brick wall. After a narrow 4-3 overtime win Friday night against the Muskies in Lindsay, the Huskies’ luck ran out as they fell 3-0 to the Dukes on home ice. 

“I thought we played really well despite not getting the outcome we wanted,” Huskies head coach Ryan Ramsay said. “In the first period we dominated, but the second period killed us with three penalties in a row and we lost our swagger. You’re gonna have those games where you think you play good enough to win. It didn’t go our way, but for the most part I thought we played well.”

The Huskies will head out to Toronto for a rematch with the Jr. Canadiens before heading back to the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena on Friday, Feb. 11 for their final home meeting with the Toronto Patriots. The Huskies beat the Patriots 4-3 in their last meeting during the 2021 OJHL Governor’s Showcase.  The puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.