By Darren Lum
Published Feb. 26 2019
It was less than ideal to lose the final Kawartha High School Hockey League regular season game in the final minutes but the Hawks boys’ hockey team will take the experience to grow and to find success in the upcoming post season.
After leading the St. Mary Thunder for much of the game the Hawks relinquished a 1-0 lead on a goal by defenceman Alex Little from Zach Morissette and Joe Boice and lost 2-1 on Tuesday Feb. 19 at the A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton.
Coach Jason Morissette said this game was very competitive and could have easily gone the way of the Hawks. He emphasized optimism to his team following the loss.
“Don’t hang your heads low on that. We could have won. We had chances too. We had some empty net chances even that just didn’t go in” he said. “We struggled a bit with the scoring so some of our games are pretty low scoring [this season] but we have struggled a little bit there. But that will come because we are getting chances so as long as they see we’re getting chances getting quality chances you got to hope that maybe in the big game you know elimination and out you go that maybe you know the hockey gods are nice to us and we get a break.”
He also told his team to remember “adversity” will prepare them for games and tournaments of meaning.
“If it’s too easy than that’s not necessarily a good thing because it doesn’t really get you ready for the stress” he said.
The team agreed with him about the value a competitive game like the loss does for them to grow and to play against a strong deep team that forces you to realize the value to play every shift with focus and purpose paying attention to details towards winning.
“It went their way in the third. The 1-0 … it would have been nice to go in the third with maybe two or three [goals]. We had our chances. We didn’t really bury some of those. It is what it is” he said.
When you play top teams a one goal lead does not provide a lot of room for error.
The two goals they did get (a screen and tip) were difficult for Hawks goalie Carson Sisson to have much of a chance on.
Morissette loved his team’s discipline during the game finishing with just three penalties for six minutes compared to the Thunder who finished with 12 minutes of penalties.
Their special teams performed well scoring one powerplay goal and had many other chances he said.
The Thunder Morissette said were solid on the back end and limited space in the neutral zone negating solo efforts to break down the defence.
The win earned the Thunder first place in Kawartha and not just a chance to host the Kawartha Championship but also gave them a bye through the quarterfinals which is a best of two home and away series. The Hawks finished third in Kawartha.
Days after the home loss the Hawks beat LCVI 6-0 to start the Kawartha best-of-two playoff quarterfinal series. Game two which was scheduled for Monday was postponed and will be played today at 3:30 at the A.J. LaRue Arena.
Team assistant captain Shawn Walker thought the factor in the loss came down to easing up the pressure.
“We let up a bit. In the third period we’re trying to protect the lead … we played hard. They got two lucky tips and that’s just the way it goes sometimes” he said.
As a Grade 12 athlete in his final year with experience playing in the post-season he’s shared with his teammates who are not familiar with the experience the drive all the players will have.
“It’s not easy. From my experience playoffs are never easy especially when you get to that Kawarthas. Everybody wants it. Everybody wants to keep playing hockey as much as they can especially those veterans right they’re going to do whatever they can to keep going” he said.