Red Hawks growing from a loss
Hockey team loses to St. Mary Thunder 5-1, but gains so much more
By Darren Lum
After a 5-1 road loss to the St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, the Red Hawks hockey team head coach Jason Morissette called it an opportunity to improve while his team was volunteering for the Heat Bank, splitting, sorting and stacking wood for the Heat Bank Haliburton County at Abbey Gardens on Friday, Nov. 29.
Morissette said the Hawks with veteran Carson Sisson in net didn’t necessarily lose to the perennial Kawartha powerhouse hockey team, the Thunder, as they were beat by a deeper team with greater skill on Wednesday, Nov. 27 in Cobourg.
“What we learned the most playing a team that is that quick and ... really moves the puck fast [is that they] really take advantage of you when you make mistakes. These guys really learned, like for instance, two of the goals were on odd man rushes. So what happened is our guys got away from playing that 1-2-2 system. They got caught in deep and then St. Mary just pounces. They’re so fast, you can’t get back. Carson had some two-on-ones on him and things like that, right? Every one of the goals St. Mary got was basically on a one timer. Like it wasn’t a set shot. Not much chance,” he said. “Carson played really well. Any shot that he could get set for he was making those saves.”
The Thunder easily out shot the Hawks. Morissette thought it was a margin of two-to-one for the Thunder.
He was impressed by the Hawks’ three defenceman Ty Mills, Isaac Little and Dylan Keefer. However, they learned they can’t rush the puck and need to pace themselves, Morissette said. On Monday, Nov. 25, Keefer left the home game against the I.E. Weldon Wildcats in the second period after getting hit from behind against the boards. His departure was for precautionary reasons and he was cleared to play against the Thunder.
Although the Thunder did score a powerplay goal, it was the only opportunity they had with the man advantage. Morissette appreciated how his team improved their discipline with just the one penalty for the game.
“They knew. They are listening. They are listening to some of my advice about certain teams, about what you can get away with and what you can’t get away [with]. Like I said, it’s going to be a learning year for them,” he said.
The Thunder ran four full lines, easily outnumbering the Hawks, who had three lines (two centremen), and three defencemen. The disparity was owed to five players who are out of the lineup for injury and illness. Morissette said this wasn’t an excuse.
“Yes, we were missing five players that would help for our energy and for learning – to get the guys in the lineup to learn, but St. Mary, to be very honest, is very talented, well-coached,” he said.
Recognizing many of the Thunder players from last year, the opponents have a veteran team and are likely to be a team to beat.
“They’re good and they have that OFSAA experience,” he said.
Last year, the Thunder beat the Hawks in the COSSA final to earn a trip to the all-provincials.
Morissette said his team is learning to play against a team that is “a little quicker, a little older, you know, physically even stronger so I was impressed by them. Our guys, we held them to 1-0 after the first.”
Down 3-0 to start the third, he said, the Hawks responded with a goal from Lucas Haedicke (assisted by Paul Turner). He said the team wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum unfortunately because there wasn’t much energy left from the shortened bench. The Thunder added another two to seal the deal.
St. Mary player Logan Kelly led all scorers with three points (two goals and an assist).
The next three games are important, he said, as it will be an opportunity to win and earn some points, crucial for a playoff berth. The top seven teams will move on. However there will be a AA and a AAA playoff.
The Hawks’ next home game is against the Lions of Adam Scott on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at the A.J. LaRue Arena. Puck drops 4 p.m.
Morissette said he’s had teams in the past who have lost in the regular season, but went on to experience playoff success. Winning is part of a development process, which includes losing.
“You do have to lose to learn too,” he said. “You can’t just win, win, win. You learn a lot from losing.”
Losing helps build resiliency, he added.
The road trip was more than the game with a goal to win. It was about the social aspect of team getting to know one another during the drive down and sharing a meal together, making memories, Morissette said.
“The truth is they had a fun day,” he said.