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 great game.”
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 hockey.
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 said.