Haliburton County Huskies forward Nick Athanasaskos works to get free of Toronto Patriots defenceman Hunter Svicki’s hold during Ontario Junior Hockey League action on Friday, Feb. 11 at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena in Minden. The Huskies beat the Patriots 3-1./DARREN LUM Staff

Stevens scores a pair as Huskies down Patriots 31

By Alex Gallacher
Following a crushing loss to the Toronto Jr A Canadiens last Monday, the Huskies returned home to take on the Toronto Patriots for the first time ever at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena this past Friday night on Feb. 11 in Minden. With two straight losses, the Huskies looked to get back on track as the month of February continued. Following two goals by Christian Stevens and a 20 save performance by Christian Linton, the Huskies got back into the win column with a 3-1 win.
The Huskies wasted no time getting on the board, scoring with a little more than two minutes into the game when Bryce Richardson buried a rebound from a shot taken by Isaac Sooklal for a 1-0 lead. The first period blew by rather quickly as there were minimal stoppages in play.

The second was absolute chaos.
Sooklal got his first of three bookings by taking a slashing call. Fortunately for the Huskies, Toronto’s Jonathon Mead was booked for holding a few seconds later to essentially cancel the visitor’s powerplay. Toronto gave it their all, however nothing they tried seemed to work.
Sooklal was booked again after a hard collision sent one of the Patriots’ players awkwardly into the boards. The game officials booked Sooklal with two minutes for boarding and ejected him from the game with a 10 -minute misconduct.
Christian Stevens doubled the Huskies lead after a rebound ended up on his stick and without looking buried the puck past Patriots’ goalie Kyle Curtin. Huskies’ forward Peyton Schaly finished the period in the sin-bin when he was sent off for a questionable goalie interference call, leading to a Patriots’ powerplay goal to start the third.
An awkward shot taken by Patriots’ Eric Bonsteel found its way onto the stick of his teammate McKay Hayes who buried it, beating Huskies’ backup goaltender Linton. The goal ended his shutout bid and put the Patriots back into the hunt for a win. A few moments later, Patriots’ forward Mead would make a run at Linton. To the ire of Huskies players and fans, Mead was not penalized and chirped the Huskies bench each chance he could.

Haliburton County Huskies forward celebrates with teammate Jack Staniland during Ontario Junior Hockey League action on Friday, Feb. 11 at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena in Minden. The Huskies beat the Patriots 3-1./DARREN LUM Staff

With the game getting rougher, both teams clawed at each other’s throats.
In his first game back from injury, Huskies’ forward Lucas Marshall was playing with a leg brace. However, Marshall would also get dinged with a misconduct for head contact. He wasn’t ejected, but forced to sit through a majority of the rest of the game in the penalty box.
As the minutes edged to the end of regulation, the Huskies added one final dagger to the hearts of the Patriots. Stevens scored his second in the game to seal the 3-1 win for the hometown team, with linemates Oliver Tarr and Patrick Saini picking up another pair of assists on the goal.
In the end, the Huskies were too much for the Patriots.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Stevens said. “We were on the two game skid, but I think we were ready for it. We had a good morning practice and I’m happy we got the win. I think it’s good to have these games in the regular season, as this is pretty much playoff hockey. It gets us prepared for playoffs so it’s good.”

On the road
The Huskies then travelled to Toronto on Saturday for a rematch against the Jr A Canadiens. This time, however, the Huskies had their number. Goals from Lucas Stevenson and Simon Rose helped to cement a 36 save shutout 2-0 win for Christian Cicigoi.
The Huskies will return to the S.G.Nesbitt Memorial Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 15 for a 7:30 contest against the Caledon Admirals. This will be the first home meeting between the two squads, as the Huskies were meant to face the Admirals on New Year’s Eve, however that game was rescheduled.