By Alex Gallacher
With a shot at first place, the Haliburton County Huskies’ playoff seeding became more complicated after a loss to the Wellington Dukes on Saturday and a win against the Trenton Golden Hawks on Sunday.
With three games remaining in the regular season, the Huskies will need to be perfect if they want to have a shot at first place.
On Saturday, March 26, the first place Dukes were in town and with Huskies’ starting goalie Christian Cicigoi still out of the lineup, it was up to backup Christian Linton to put on another good performance. Riding eight straight wins, the Huskies looked to cap off a perfect March with only their second win against the Dukes. However, Emmet Pierce had other plans.
After Joe Boice and Ryan Hall were both given penalties for head contact and cross-checking, the Dukes got to work. First, it was David Campbell beating Linton on a tip shot screen in front of the net. Then Pierce beat Linton on a good old fashioned one timer, and the Huskies found themselves down 2-0.
In the second period, the Huskies Christian Stevens finally figured out Ethan Morrow on a Peyton Schaly one timer to pull the Dogs within one. Before the period was over, Jacob Vreugdenhill buried another one timer from Pierce and the two goal lead was restored.
The third period saw three goals, one by Wellington’s Jonathon Balah and a second by Pierce to tally his 40th of the season. The only Huskies goal came from Haliburton’s own Ryan Hall, who scored his second of the season on a point shot.
With the eight game win streak snapped, the Huskies’ quest for the first overall spot got a lot harder and made Sunday’s matinee against Trenton that much more important. With Cicigoi returning to the lineup, he played the game of his life.
With no scoring in the first period, the fans in the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena would have to wait until period two to see some goals. Lucas Stevenson buried a brilliant feed from Will Gourgouvelis to put the Huskies up 1-0, then a few minutes later came the potential goal of the year.
Cam Kosurko used his jets to beat Nathan Oickle on the breakaway, missing the net on the initial try he circled back around. Not giving up, he flat-footed Oickle and Austin D’Orazio and tucked the puck under Taylor in an amazing individual effort. A short-handed goal for Kosurko, put the Huskies up with a two goal advantage heading into the third.
One of the league’s best offensive defensemen Simon Rose got to work less than two minutes in, burying another goal to cap off his impressive 10 game stretch for the Huskies. Finally, Nick Athanasaskos put the puck into the empty net to seal the 4-0 shutout win for the Huskies.
Cicigoi made a 43-save shutout in his first game back from injury, while Kosurko was buzzing during the post-game autograph session.
“I missed the first chance and it bounced off the glass,” Kosurko said. “I corralled it and then put the puck in. It helps that the crowd is really into it, it puts the energy into me and I can do what I do out there.”
With three games left in the regular season, each game is so much more important. Despite two games left against the last place Mississauga Chargers, coach Ryan Ramsay said post game that even the Chargers can’t be taken for granted.
“We got three games left,” Ramsay said. “We need those points and sometimes it can be hard playing a team that has nothing to lose. We gotta stay focused and we can beat anyone in the league if we play our game. We gotta show up and stick to the game plan.”
Those final three games in question come Tuesday, April 29 in Mississauga, Saturday, April 2 in Minden and finally Sunday, April 3 in Wellington. Should the Huskies win all three they will finish the season with 73 points and a shot at first place.