Depth shines through
By Darren Lum
Dec. 20, 2016
As the snow piled up outside from the raging blizzard, the Red Hawks poured on the goals inside the A.J. LaRue Arena against the visiting Lions of Adam Scott.
After four games, Haliburton moved above .500 for the first time, taking in the Kawartha Boys High School League season with a 7-3 win.
Coach Ron Yake said this was big and couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We needed to win. We were one win, one tie and one loss up to now and we’re approaching the middle of the season ... this was a big game for us to get a win and I’m glad our guys came out in the third period and responded in that sense,” he said.
Yake adds the team will use this to build on in their bid to win on the road in an upcoming double-header against the Saints of St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School and St. Mary’s on Tuesday, Dec. 20 in Peterborough.
The win improves the Hawks to 2-1-1 in this 10-game season, which is followed by playoffs in February.
Earlier in the week, the team was set to travel to Kingston for a two-day hockey tournament. It promised strong competition and up to five games for the team. Yake had looked at that event as an opportunity for his team to build from the experience, as far as developing chemistry and team skill.
Coming into the game, the Adam Scott Lions were looking for their second win of the season, just like the Hawks who had just trounced their last opponents 9-3.
Despite the 7-3 final score, the Hawks were challenged in the first and part of the second, playing a back and forth game. Both teams kept each other in check. They traded one goal leads in the first period and part of the second.
“Their team came out and were ready to go and play. They put some pressure on us and it was back and forth at the beginning. It was very tight. Our guys were just not quite ready for the game from what I’ve seen so far,” he said.
The team will address this for the next road games, which will lead into the holiday break.
“We need to be better prepared whether it is mentally or physically or both, but be ready for the start of the game,” he said. “If we played like we did in the third ... We were skating much better and putting much better pressure on the other team so if we could get going like that from the get-go it would have been a different game.”
Defenceman Andrew Hall scored the Hawks’ first goal of the game on a point shot nearing the tail-end of a four-minute major penalty to the Lions for a headshot. The significance wasn’t lost on the veteran coach, who believes an effective power play should be close to 20 per cent efficiency.
Hall’s goal not only tied the game 1-1 with a little more than a minute in the first, but it seemed to be the catalyst for the team.
“You don’t have to score every time, but you want to generate offence and opportunities and generate some momentum around them,” he said.
With just six seconds left, the Hawks forward Owen Patterson-Smith’s tenacity and dogged determination paid off, as his forecheck while killing a two-minute penalty rewarded him with a partial break on goal, on which he capitalized, scored on the backhand to give his team a 2-1 lead. The lead was short lived, as the Lions responded with a power play goal on their first shot on net in the opening seconds of the second period to tie it up 2-2 and then added another power play goal with minutes left in the second. The Hawks were forced to play catch up down 3-2 with only 4:42 in the second period. The Hawks winger Chris Thompson scored an important equalizer with a little more than two minutes left.
The red and white carried the momentum from Thompson’s goal into the third when Haliburton proved to be the deeper team, scoring four unanswered goals to finish the game, starting with an equalizer late in the second.
Two goals by the Hawks to start the third scored less than 40 seconds apart squashed any hope of a Lions comeback even though the visitors had a two-man advantage and another powerplay to make it closer. Haliburton added two more to end with a 7-3 final.
As Yake has said all season, special teams is a work in progress, but in this game his team had a few standouts worth acknowledging for their ability to stymie the opposition while killing penalties.
“Owen Patterson-Smith and Owen Smith killed penalties together quite well and they generated some offence off it too and scored. Those are always a bonus, of course, and it was good work on their part with regards to that,” he said.
Smith scored the eventual game-winner, which was assisted by Patterson-Smith on his yeoman’s effort, drawing two defenders to leave his teammate open for the pass and the easy goal. Patterson-Smith also scored a pair of goals for arguably his best game of the season.
The Hawks’ third period start was what the doctor ordered – or in this case a coach and assistant, who encouraged their players to shoot more during the break before the third.
“The start of the third period there was a swing there. We talked about ... shooting the puck a little bit more and we’re trying to make some nice plays, which I give the guys credit, but sometimes sometimes it’s best just to shoot the puck,” he said.