WINCHESTER – There was excitement in the air as the Winchester Hawks Hockey Club tweaked the final details prior to launching the team’s 50th season.
The introductions of the participants for the opening ceremonies along with the almost entirely new roster, as well as the unveiling of the Hawks’ retro uniforms, all went off without a hitch.
“I got lots of positive feedback on Friday’s opening,” remarked Hawks assistant GM/director of scouting Dominic Menard. “Especially regarding the retro jerseys. It was a decent crowd and not a bad two periods for the boys.”
Rhonda Steele, wife of the late Joel Steele, the Hawks team founder, dropped the ceremonial puck between Hawks captain Jordan Chagnon and Golden Knights’ Matt Crowley to get Winchester’s Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2 (CCHL2) home season started.
Sunday (Sept. 17) evening, the Hawks fell 4-3 to the visiting Brockville Tikis dropping both ends of the home ice twin bill and lowering their record to 1-3-0-0.
President/GM Keith Ashton enlisted long time executive Bob Porteous to perform the ceremonial face off. Porteous was honored for his many years of dedicated service to the Hawks.
The first 30 fans attending the game were admitted free of charge courtesy of D’s Collision. A voucher for free popcorn was also available during the game.
For the first 40 minutes the young Hawks squad went end-to-end with Ottawa West and trailed by a goal (1-0) heading into the final frame. That’s when the Knight’s smooth-skating offence started to click and cracked four unanswered goals opening up a 5-0 lead.
Hunter Randell’s unassisted marker scored with 56 seconds left in the game prevented the Hawks from being shutout and left the final result as a 5-1 win for the visitors, who outshot Winchester 52-25.
Alex Wall, Matt Cowley (GWG), Tyren Boots and Luke Mulvihill with a pair cashed the Knight’s markers.
Cameron Parr posted the win and Conor Lahey took the loss.
Winchester head coach Bob Gould said his team needs to play a full 60 minutes, having just turned in a 40-minute effort against Ottawa West.
Tikis 4 – Hawks 3
“I was really hoping for a win against Brockville to bring us back to 500,” said the coach.
Gould felt that after the team bonding session on Saturday (Sept. 16), which included golf, dinner and concussion testing, the team would get a better result, unfortunately that did not transpire.
“However, we did make some strides in the right direction,” he explained. “We reduced our shots against  from our first two games, got better at getting out of our end and scored our first power play goal.”
Second period shots fired by Kieran Gaynor (unassisted at 0:41), Dillon Clemen (PPG, Griffith Patterson, Randell at 9:22) and Chagnon (unassisted at 17:20) gave the Hawks a brief 3-2 lead.
Brockville tied it 3-3 with a Mason Piercey power play goal at 18:56 of the same frame and won it 4-3 on another power play finished off by Zack Matyasik with 8:10 left in the game.
“A major penalty cost us in the third period of a 3-3 tie,” reported the coach. “That situation is not acceptable and will be dealt with.”
Brent Pledge-Dickson got the start, faced 33 shots and took the loss as the Hawks fell to 1-3-0-0.
The Hawks continue their homestand at the Joel Steele Community Centre where they will entertain the Athens Aeros on Friday (Sept. 22) at 8:15 pm and the Char-Lan Rebels on Sunday (Sept. 24) at 7:15 pm.