By Darren Lum
Finding the back of the net was easy for the Red Hawks boys’ hockey team once it overcame a 2-1 deficit at the end of the first period against the visiting Holy Cross Hurricanes during Kawartha High
School Hockey League action on Tuesday Jan. 19 at the A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton.
On paper it should have been easy as the visiting Hurricanes were seventh (1-5-1) entering play compared to the fourth place Hawks (4-2-1).
Coach Ron Yake said the reason for the deficit was simple.
Penalties really hurt their ability to get into a rhythm and gave the visitors opportunities.
“They were on the powerplay and we weren’t and we really didn’t have much chemistry going in the first period. We had good pressure at times but we didn’t get many shots” he said.
Haliburton was given three minor penalties compared with the Hurricanes who not only didn’t have a penalty but also converted with one powerplay goal
Coming into the game the Hawks were looking to focus on staying out the box for needless penalties Yake said.
“One of our game plans was to try and stay disciplined. Try to keep our mouths quiet and keep our head in the game and we did. Even down 2-1 in the first the guys weren’t starting to chirp or get involved with that part of what sometimes hockey is which is not good hockey and we kept going. So the second period the goals started going in the net” he said.
The Hawks centre Jaydon Wood scored the 2-2 equalizer early in the second period off a nice give and go with centre Noah Dollo. Haliburton added five more goals which led to the route of the Hurricanes.
Wood would later finish with a hat-trick and an assist to pace his team to the 10-3 win.
Goals in the period also came from forward Owen Patterson-Smith who finished with a strong offensive outpouring with four points (two goals and two assists) defenceman Andrew Hall who scored the eventual game-winner centre Mat Wilbee defenceman Owen Flood who scored an end-to-end highlight goal that had his teammates on the bench cheering and banging their sticks.
Yake hopes it’s the start of something.
“That was good for us. We have had a few games when we have had a hard time scoring goals so for the puck to start going into the net maybe that is a sign of things to come for us” he said.
The team is a plus 15 (42 goals for and 27 allowed).
Yake said putting him with Dollo seemed to work and he’ll probably continue with that pairing.
Hawks rookie goalie Cole Findlay kept things close when the team needed him most making a toe save on a breakaway in the second period when the score was 2-2 less than three minutes after Wood’s tying goal.
“Cole’s played very well for us this year. It’s his first year playing Red Hawk hockey and I know he is very excited about that and he has improved a lot. That was a big save” he said.
When the third period started the game was all but over with a 7-2 lead for the red and white. Haliburton’s Patterson-Smith scored his second of the game and Wood started the third and finished it with a goal.
For the first time since the first Kawartha league game the Hawks had their entire lineup including second-year centre Wilbee one of the team’s best snipers who was out with a leg injury.
He made an immediate impact scoring minutes into the first to tie the game at 1-1. There wasn’t much evidence of rust as he finished with a pair of goals and an assist.
Wood played wing in this game after several games when he played centre while Wilbee was out.
Other players that were out were Mac Rider who missed a game Chris Thompson who has been struggling with a sore knee and Patterson-Smith who missed a few games with an internal injury.
“Yeah we have been struggling being injury prone you might say” he said. “That’s our first game since the beginning of the season with everyone playing.”
Besides the team’s scorers Yake credits his entire team for this season’s successes.
“The other guys on the team are hard workers. They all bring a little different aspect to the game whether it’s size skill or speed so it’s not just a three line team right now. We kind of juggled things today. We are going to keep with that against Crestwood the next time we play and the playoffs probably. We’ll see how we do against Crestwood but hopefully generate a few goals” he said.
A win could allow the Hawks to finish as high as second place in Kawartha.
With the top six of the league making the playoffs Yake wasn’t concerned about making the playoffs as much as he is about seeding which will come down to the last game against the second place Crestwood Mustangs (6-2-0) at the A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton on Tuesday Feb. 9. Puck drops at 3:50.
“Crestwood has a good team so it should be a good match” he said.