By Darren Lum
The home opener for the Red Hawks boys’ hockey finished like last year: with a win and optimism for the season’s future success.
Although the Knights are not regarded as one of the top-tier teams in the Kawartha High School Hockey League the Hawks enjoyed opening the season with a win.
Coach Ron Yake and the rest of the coaching staff were pleased with the effort and the result.
Yake who said his team is still getting to know each other as teammates believes special teams are always important in high school hockey.
In this game the success of his penalty killing team really helped to open up the game when it killed off a Knights’ two-man advantage that lasted 40 seconds.
“We were playing well. We had lots of shots. Give credit to their goalie [Jake Krabbe]. He played very well early in the game and that kept the game close” he said. “And then of course we got into some penalties and yeah killing penalties is always important and that kept us in the game. Cole Finlay was our goalie and he didn’t have to make a lot of stops but he made a couple key ones there when the game was tight. So credit to Cole and then after that opened up.”
The team went on to score the go-ahead minutes after and then the eventual game-winner by rookie Chase Burden who finished with a pair of goals. They added six more and won the game easily 8-2.
Before the start of the first period Yake told his team that he acknowledged their strong play.
“I just gave them credit for how well they were playing early in the season” he said.
He adds the team deserved the win with its effort and a bit of “puck luck” referring to a few fortuitous bounces.
The other positives also extend to the forwards and the defence.
The team’s three lines played well he said.
However the team chemistry will continue to develop which will be part of the process for the team moving forward in the season.
The powerplay is an area that often needs time to develop. He noticed it was effective in this game.
However he acknowledges there is room for improvement.
The Hawks controlled the puck possession and the Knights were given few chances since the puck was rarely in their end. He said this is a result of strong work at the back by his defensive corps.
“A credit to them but I know against some better teams we’re going to be in our own end a lot more so we’re going to have to continue to work on playing well in our own end. So those are some of the things looking forward but the positive is it’s a nice start for us to the season” he said.
Two upcoming tournaments will be a test which will accurately reveal how competitive this team is compared to the stronger teams in Ontario.
Hawks forward Noah Dollo also scored a pair of goals and added one assist for three points. Both forward Jaydon Wood and defenceman Ryan Hill finished with a goal and a pair of assists.
Hawks forwards Nolan Flood and Owen Patterson Smith each had a goal in the win. Hawks players Matt Wilbee had three helpers while Max MacNaull and Paydon Miscio each had a pair of helpers.
Next month the team will play in a tournament in the first week of December and then the St. Peter’s Classic tournament in Peterborough in the first week of January.
The next home game for the Hawks is against the St. Peter’s Saints on Thursday Dec. 17. The puck drops 3:45 p.m. Games are subject to change.