WINCHESTER – The Ottawa West Golden Knights arrived in town Fri., Jan. 4 ready to prove that they should be considered one of the top teams in the Martin Division. But the Hawks, and netminder Brent Pledge-Dickson, served notice that their record was no indication of their resolve – not on this night at least.
The Hawks had some success against the Knights in November, defeating them 6-3, but a 5-1 loss two weeks later evened the season series.
The match-up was a verbally and physically contentious affair with the teams trading shots at every opportunity.
Miguel Daoust got the start in net for the Golden Knights, but he barely scratched the scoresheet as the Hawks managed only one shot on net in the first 20 minutes.
Pledge-Dickson had a full workload at the other end, turning aside all 20 shots he faced. The Hawks ended the first period two men short after Eric DeRepentigny took a tripping penalty at 18:33 with Dawson Maisonneuve already in the box serving a double minor.
Winchester managed to kill off the five-on-three and gained some momentum.
The Hawks finally managed to generate a few shots as the Golden Knights went to the penalty kill for the first time.
However, the ice was still heavily tilted on the shot clock with the Knights holding an 18-8 advantage in the second for a two-period total of 38-9.
The dam finally broke in the third as Michael Gallivan scored his 18th of the season for the Knights at 3:01 with assists going to Andrew MacKinnon and Max Bush.
That would prove to be the game-winner as Bush added an empty-net goal with nine seconds left to salt away the victory.
The Knights outshot the Hawks in the game 50-13.
The game ended with emotions running high as both sides exchanged verbal shots across the lobby as they headed to their dressing rooms.
Pledge-Dickson had another outstanding performance. Although he only has seven wins on the season, his .911 save percentage ranks as fifth best in the league for goalies that have played at least 20 games this season.
The Knights and Hawks have one more game left in their season series, Fri., Feb. 15 at the Joel Steele Community Centre.
The schedule for the Hawks directly before them would be enough to make any team want to fly south.
They hit the road to take on the surging Brockville Tikis, who are 7-3 in the their last 10 games, tonight (Wed., Jan. 9); host the powerhouse Ottawa Jr. Canadians Fri., Jan.11; and then visit the Char-Lan Rebels Sat., Jan. 12.
The following week also includes a return engagement with the Ottawa Jr. Canadians and a visit from the Casselman Vikings.
Around the league
The Ottawa Jr. Canadians continue to cruise through the season with their 28-2-1 record and have built a 12 point cushion on top of the Martin Division over the consistently strong Casselman Vikings (22-6-1).
The Golden Knights are in third with 42 points, the Alexandria Glens are fourth with 35 points and the Char-Lan Rebels sit in the last playoff spot with a 14-13-3 record.
The race in the Richardson Division has plenty of intrigue with the top five teams separated by only six points.
The Perth Blue Wings sit on top with a 17-9-3 record and 37 points. With the same amount of points, but one less win, the Brockville Tikis are in second followed by the Carleton Place Jr. Canadians with 35 points, the Westport Rideaus with 33 points and the Arnprior Packers with 31.
The Renfrew Timberwolves and Athens Aeros sit three and four points out of the final playoff spot, respectively.