Red Hawks forward Joe Boice dives for a loose puck looking to beat the Campbellford Flames goalie Mason Waltiz during the home opener on Thursday Nov. 22 at the A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton. The Hawks controlled the game and won 3-0 to start the season undefeated. /DARREN LUM Staff

Hawks extinguish Flames in home opener

By Darren Lum

Published Nov. 27 2018

There’s a bit of change for the Red Hawks boys’ hockey team this season.

A new coach. A new community outreach initiative with Heat Bank Haliburton County. Plus several new faces and names on this year’s roster. The one constant for much of the time the Hawks have iced a team the past several years is winning. This year’s home opener this past Thursday Nov. 22 wasn’t any different as it ended with a 3-0 dominating win over the Campbellford Flames.

Rookie head coach Jason Morissette who took over from long-standing coach Ron Yake was proud of his team for how they played and how they executed in the home opener in front of a supportive and vocal crowd.

“It’s a great start to the year. I’m excited. It’s a great opportunity to work with a bunch of great kids. They’re proud of their school and certainly represented it really well” he said.

Yake actually came to the game speaking with the team following the win. Morissette appreciated the visit and the support. He said the two remain in contact.

Morissette said the key to the win was the play of his blueliners from rookie Grade 10 player Alex Little to veterans such as Shawn Walker a Grade 12 student.

“Our defence was just fantastic” he said. “Shawn Walker Alex Little. It was his first high school hockey game for him. He’s an exceptional hockey player. He’s one of these [players] quietly controlling the play” he said. “All four were great. Jacob Haedicke was great. Nik Dollo was great. We rolled with mostly four ‘D’ for the whole game and still [had to deal] with the penalty trouble. I complimented them in there: you did a really really great job.”

Goalie Carson Sisson earned the well-earned shutout with solid netminding backed up by an efficient and controlling style of play by defensive unit.

Forward Joe Boice scored the first goal in the opening minute. The puck appeared to be thrown on the net and then eluded the goalkeeper.

“It’s one of those things you put it on the net and good things happen” he said.

It stood up for the eventual game-winner. Insurance markers were scored by Nik Dollo and Owen Gilbert who unleashed a booming slapshot taken from inside the faceoff dot for the third goal in the third period.

Morissette expects discipline will improve. It’s always a challenge for teens in their first game at home to not get too excited and emotional committing infractions.

In the third period a hush came over the crowd when rookie forward Dylan Keefer lay on the ice following an incident with a Campbellford player who received a major penalty and was ejected for the remainder of the game.

This happened right after a play when Keefer drew a penalty on the far boards. After he was tended to by trainer Brett Caputo he was assisted to the bench by a pair of teammates who helped him skate slowly off the ice. Morissette said Keefer asked to play but did not return for precautionary reasons. It’s unknown what injuries he sustained if any. The Grade 9 student is the only freshman on the team.

One of the leaders for Morissette this season is assistant captain Haedicke. He welcomes his new role with the team in his sophomore year to help lead the team with captain Owen Smith and assistant and fellow defenceman Walker. COSSA is the goal he adds.

Morissette said he respects the high expectations of his players and the ceiling for this talented and deep team is high.

“We do have the team to do it but just because you have talent [doesn’t mean]that they’re going to do the team thing. If they do the team thing first I’d say yes … and they check any selfish [play] at the door these guys can do really really well” he said.

The team’s second game was against the Norwood Knights on Monday Nov. 26 at the A.J. LaRue Arena where they won 7-1. Keefer who was injured in their first game was seen playing forward and defence.