EMBRUN – For the first time in the Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2 (CCHL2) season the Winchester Hawks have won back-to-back games and three of their past four.

Last Wednesday (Nov. 15) in Brockville, the Hawks trashed the Tikis 6-2 and Friday went into the Panthers’ den in Embrun and doubled the Martin Division’s number-three ranked team 4-2.

In their previous two encounters, the Hawks ripped the Ottawa West Golden Knights 9-5 (Nov. 10) and lost 5-3 to the highly-rated Rideaus in Westport (Nov. 11).

Winchester (5-18-0-0) has collected 10 points, still last in their divisional rankings, but stands two points ahead of Brockville (4-20-0-0) in the overall Richardson/Martin standings.

More challenges

Despite the positive roll the 50-year-old club has been on, it is facing a couple of tough tests. Last night (Tues., Nov. 21) the Hawks visited the first-place Ottawa Canadians (21-2-0-1) and Friday (Nov. 24) will host the second-place Casselman Vikings (17-3-2-0) at the Joel Steele Community Centre. Game time is 8:15 pm.

“We have some big tests this week for sure, but remember that two of those three wins were against Ottawa West and Embrun who are no slouches in our division and top league teams as well,” said Hawks head coach Bob Gould.

Gould noted the contributions of the Lemay brothers, Christophe (6 GP, 3-3-6) and Fred (6 GP, 3-3-6), as well as the solid play of newly acquired goaltender Darien Johnson, but was quick to add the confidence of the entire team is growing.

“Our younger kids are certainly improving with experience now and we are playing much better as a team, and we can see our systems coming into place,” said the coach. “We just need to keep building every day and work hard.”

Hawks 6 – Tikis 2

Winchester’s top scorer, Kyle Kuehni, snapped a pair of goals in the first period finishing plays started by Graeme Buffone at 5:41 and Jordan Chagnon at 6:21. The Hawks’ number two sniper, Hunter Randell, made it 3-0 burying an unassisted shortie at 15:38.

Randell (Chagnon, Dakota Seaman at 3:29) and Buffone (Kieran Gaynor at 10:23) put pucks in the Brockville net increasing Winchester’s lead to 5-0 before the Tikis’ Zachary Matyasik beat Hawks’ goaltender Johnson, who faced 43 shots for the win.

Brockville closed the gap to 5-2 before Jeremy Fidaoui (Kuehni, Dylan Lavallee at 14:06) inflated the final difference to 6-2.

Hawks 4 – Panthers 2

Johnson was back between the pipes in Embrun and emerged with his second ‘W’ in spite of facing 41 shots, including a 15-1 barrage in the final frame from the hometown Panthers.

Christophe Lemay cashed feeds from Joel Driscoll at 2:43 and Fred Lemay and Driscoll (PPG) at 6:04 handing the Hawks a 2-0 advantage. “AP” Noah Dioszeghy netted a feed sent to him by Kuehni and Dillon Clemen at 9:39.

Embrun got on board at the 12:54 mark when Marc Brosseau (Jeremy Barrie, Joey Larcher) finally solved Johnson’s style.

Kuehni (Evan Landry, Miguel Pare at 6:22) rang up his 10th goal of the season stretching the Hawks’ lead to 4-1.

A third-period marker by Noah Johnston (PPG, Michael Armstrong, at 2:43) split the final difference at 4-2.

The game’s three stars were Johnson, Christophe Lemay and Panthers’ Michael Armstrong.

Hot Hawks

Kuehni (22 GP 10-9-19) and Randell (18 GP 13-5-18) are the Hawks’ top two scorers.

Johnson has won his two starts, allowed four goals, established a GAA of 2.00 and a save percent age of .953-2.