By Darren Lum
Published March 12, 2019
The Red Hawks boys’ hockey team is proud of meeting their season goal
following the COSSA Championship final 1-0 loss to the St. Mary Thunder
a few weeks ago, said their head coach Jason Morissette.
“Their goal to start the year was to make it to COSSA. They achieved
that goal. Last year we got to the semis in COSSA and lost. This year we
got to the final and got silver … so that’s progress. It’s really,
really difficult to get to the COSSA finals in anything. Hockey is very
difficult in that there are a lot of people that play hockey. It is
Canada, right? Any where we go we’re against good competition and our
league was very tight,” he said. “The success was they represented the
school very, very well. Discipline wise. On the ice. Off the ice. The
players were great to work with.”
He appreciated the journey and the end result, which is only short of
the all-provincials, the highest level for high school hockey.
There’s nothing to feel bad about losing to a team of quality, he said.
Getting scoring chances were a challenge because of the quality of
play from the Thunder’s goalie and defence, who protected the crease
area from opportunistic Hawks players.
“Within the net area, they boxed out super well,” he said. “One, we
would have liked to have got more guys to the net, but also they did a
very good job of limiting guys getting to the net. They were physical.
Big and strong. Great skating. Very intelligent. Well coached. They’re
an excellent hockey team. We’re an excellent hockey team. The final was a
Morissette said the Hawks performance in the COSSA final was better
than how they played in the Kawartha final, which ended with a 2-1 loss.
Although the team was prepared for the Thunder in terms of
game-planning and mindset, the team noticed an absence on the back end
when assistant captain and veteran defenceman Shawn Walker left the game
in the first period with an injury. Walker was a regular on the special
teams and could not be replaced. Morissette still credits what his
remaining four defencemen were able to do without Walker.
Earlier in the day, the team earned its finals berth with a 2-0 win over Centre Hastings to improve on last year’s performance.
Morissette, who finished his rookie coaching season, appreciated the
work of his coach Clay Glecoff and his trainer Brett Caputo.
After 18 games, including the post-season, the Hawks boasted an
exemplary defence with eight shutouts for a 1.06 goal against average.
The team finished 12 wins, five losses and one tie.
Glecoff and Morissette credited the team’s captain Owen Smith with
having a positive influence on the team and how it factored greatly with
the quality of character exhibited by the players on and off the ice.
The team-first attitude by the players can be owed to Smith. There were
many games during the season when the team exhibited great discipline,
staying out of the penalty box – an unusual occurrence in high school
Glecoff pointed out the players looked up to Smith for what he
achieved in hockey, whether as an OHL draft pick or his experience with
AAA hockey outside of the county, and for how he carried himself as a
person. The team volunteered with the Heat Bank – Haliburton County one
day early in the season and then collected donations at every home game,
which will be officially donated in the next few weeks.
Glecoff wondered aloud about who will step up and be the next captain to take over from Smith, who is unlikely to return.
Morissette said the team wanted to win the final, but were mature
about the loss and really showed their character and sportsmanship.
“They came together as a team. They achieved the goal they wanted.
Yeah, they were disappointed they lost. The interesting thing is they
did lose with a lot of humility. They didn’t throw their sticks. They
didn’t pout. They were upset, [but] they didn’t go foul [their
opponents] or act as an unhumble bunch. They knew that team over there
was a really good hockey team and they accepted that. Everything was out
of the tank … that’s all you can ask. I was proud about that,” he