WINCHESTER – The Hawks three-game road trip this past weekend got off to an extraordinary start with a startling win over the Casselman Vikings, but ended in bitter disappointment with only one point in their final two games.
Playing short-handed in all three games due to injuries and players’ other commitments, the Hawks put themselves behind the eight ball as they now sit seven points out of a playoff spot.
With only one game remaining before the Christmas break, the Hawks’ coaching staff and players need to find some consistency with a depleted line-up in the new year to keep within striking distance of the playoff pack.
Hawks 4 –Vikings 3
Lucas Devries, the Hawks’ 17-year-old goaltender, got his second start of the year against the second place Vikings Thurs., Dec. 13. His only other appearance, a 45-save effort, secured a 6-5 shootout win over the Richmond Royals.
Casselman had won five of their last six games leading up to the match versus Winchester.
Despite playing the game with only five defencemen and missing two forwards, the Hawks managed to hold their own and escape the first period with a 2-2 tie.
After the Vikings made it 2-0 on goals by Brendan Lynch and Evan Boucher, Danny Johnson (11) and William MacDonald (five) responded for Winchester.
Frederick Gagnier put Casselman up by one before the midway mark of the second period, but MacDonald played the role of sniper with goals at 9:45 and 14:27 of the second to complete the hat trick and gave Winchester an unlikely 4-3 lead.
Devries did the rest as he preserved the win making 19 saves in the second and 22 in the third as the Hawks were outshot 55-16 in the game.
The Vikings’ leading scorer Joel Hunt was kept off the scoreboard as Casselman lost for only the sixth time in regulation.
MacDonald’s hat trick was part of his four-point game while Johnson had a goal and two assists and Kuehni also picked up three helpers.
Glens 5 – Hawks 1
Playing on back-to-back nights with only 16 players dressed and without leading scorer Miguel Pare (injury), Kuehni and captain Dillon Clemen, the match-up against rival Alexandria couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The Glens had won three straight and four of their last five before welcoming the Hawks to the Glengarry Sports Palace Fri., Dec. 14.
The Glens took advantage of the undermanned Hawks in the first outshooting them 18-2 and coming out with a 2-0 lead on goals by Mathieu Parent and Reggy St. Surin.
The end of the first saw Glens leading scorer Mikael Gibeault ejected from the game after receiving a five-minute major for a blow to the head, five minutes for fighting the Hawks Isaac Landry and two game misconducts. Landry also received an instigator penalty and a game misconduct.
However, the rough stuff with the Glens, the league’s most penalized team, didn’t carry over.
The Hawks did manage to find their legs in the second as they held a 17-12 advantage in shots but still found themselves down by two. Shonwahnonkon Thompson scored shorthanded for the Glens while River Gull responded for Winchester with his first of the year.
The Hawks simply ran out of gas in the third and couldn’t solve Glens’ starter Nicolas Rousseau as they allowed two more to make it a 5-1 final.
Royals 7 – Hawks 6 (OT)
Although still in the Martin Division basement, the Richmond Royals had been playing much better of late, coming off back-to-back wins over the Whitewater Kings.
The Hawks have had their fair share of trouble with the Royals dropping a 6-3 decision in October and narrowly escaping with a shootout win more than a week ago.
Clemen and Kuehni returned to the Hawks line-up, but they still played three men short as they only managed to ice 17 players.
Kyle Fleming opened the scoring for the Hawks with his third of the year with only 11 seconds remaining in the first period.
The Royals Aiden Parnell got that one back at 5:17 of the second, but Winchester retook the lead less than three minutes later on Colby Byrnes-Shaw’s third of the year.
The Royals answered immediately on a marker from Ryan Bouley 21 seconds later. Dave Kilby and Noah Dioszeghy also scored before the end of the frame to put Richmond on top 4-2 heading into the third.
Parnell scored his second of the game and Ryan Mann both scored on the powerplay to give the Royals a 6-2 lead 5:24 into the third.
But the Hawks started to chip away at that lead immediately as Colby Schroeder scored 24 seconds later followed by the second of the game for Byrnes-Shaw to make it 6-4.
Dawson Maisonneuve cut the lead down to one with his third of the season at 13:55.
Kuehni completed the comeback with only 27 seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime. Graeme Buffone and Maisonneuve drew the assists.
What could have been a storybook ending turned into the nightmare before Christmas as the Royals’ Adam Goodfellow scored seven seconds into the extra frame to secure the win.
Richmond, who only has eight wins in total this season, now has a 2-0-1 record against the Hawks and continue to be a royal pain.
The Embrun Panthers (9-16-5) come to town Fri., Dec. 21 (8:15 pm) tied with the Hawks at 23 points.
Following the Christmas break, the Hawks next see action Fri., Jan. 4 (8:15 pm) when the Ottawa West Golden Knights (17-8-2) will be the opposition at the Joel Steele Community Centre.