By Alex Gallacher
A 39-save shut out by Christian Cicigoi and an Oliver Tarr hat trick was the fuel to help the Haliburton County Huskies blank the Cobourg Cougars 5-0, Saturday at the S.G Nesbitt Memorial Arena. A packed house played witness to a team hungry to avenge their opening day loss against the Lindsay Muskies. Coming home from a three game road trip with two wins and a loss, the Huskies made a statement with a very commanding shutout victory.
From the opening drop of the puck, the Huskies had complete control of the game. Starting off with two fantastic chances by Tarr, any momentum the Cougars thought they had was swiftly crushed. The Tarr show didn’t stop there, the first goal of the game would come at 7:15 in the first period. A textbook feed from Patrick Saini, put the Uxbridge, Ontario forward in prime position to backhand the puck up over Carter Tahk to give the Huskies the first lead of the game.
A few good chances from the Cougars fell by the wayside as Tarr wasn’t done scoring. Nathan Porter set up Tarr just past the midway point of the period, blasting a bullet of shot past Tahk to double the Huskies lead. Roughly 40 seconds later, Del Mar, California forward Davis Bone cashed in on a feed from Isaac Sooklal to score his first goal as a Huskie s player and give the team a three goal lead heading into the first intermission.
Less than a minute into the second period, Tarr made more team history. Capitalizing on another perfect pass from Saini, Tarr lit the lamp again to score the first hat trick in Huskies history. The final goal of the tilt came off the stick of Lucas Stevenson at the 17 min mark, his first as a Huskie and first career OJHL goal. While the third period recorded no scoring, the Cobourg Cougars would have nothing for the Huskies who held on for the 5-0 win.
Outshooting the Cougars 52-39, the fans at the Nesbitt were treated to a near perfect game of hockey. Moving to a record of 3-2-0-0, the Huskies now trail the Lindsay Muskies and Wellington Dukes by a single point in the East division. While sitting a further eight points back of the undefeated division leader: the Trenton Golden Hawks.
“This was probably the most solid 60 minutes of hockey we have played all season,” said Huskies head coach Ryan Ramsay. “The team just worked so well together and had complete control from start, it’s really nice to get our first home victory in front of a packed house.”
For goaltender Christian Cicigoi, his debut was as perfect as perfect could get. Since being acquired from the Powassan Voodoos on Oct. 13, the former North Bay Battalion netminder was eager to make a good first impression on the Huskies fans. With a 39 save shutout, the first in team history, the Thunder Bay, Ontario native was elated after being named first star of the game.
“The guys on this team just made it so easy for me,” Cicigoi said. “It was so much fun out there and the people here are amazing. Overall it was a great win for us and I can’t wait to get back on the ice.”
To nobody’s surprise, Tarr went out and put on another stellar performance putting him atop everyone’s one’s to watch list. With a total of six goals so far this season, Tarr moves into a three way tie with Milton’s Jordan Stock and Toronto Jr Canadians’ Eric Vitale for the league lead. The 19-year-old was buzzing post game after his best showing of the year.
“It’s so much fun to go out there and light the lamp,” Tarr said. “The guys gave me so many good chances and it doesn’t matter what barn you’re in, it’s always amazing to go out and score goals in front a crowd like the one we had.”
The Huskies will be on the road Monday, Oct. 18 as they face off in the second leg of the home and home series with the Cobourg Cougars. Wednesday, Oct. 20 they will hit the ice at the iconic St. Michael’s College to take on the St. Michaels’ Buzzers, before coming back home Saturday, Oct. 23 to host their second game against the Wellington Dukes. The Huskies fell 5-1 against the Dukes in their first meeting and will be hungry for some revenge. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., at the S.G Nesbitt Memorial Arena.