The Hawks return home Tuesday after dropping both games on a southern swing.
The Nipawin Hawks arrived early at the rink in Yorkton, and after having several hours of hanging out together and building up anticipation for the game, you would have thunk the energy levels to start the game would have been higher.
The Hawks managed just 5 first period shots, with Yorkton getting a couple goals while nearly tripling the Nipawin shot total. Jeremy Johnson beat Jordan Liem 3:32 in to open the scoring with Patrick Webb getting an assist, as well as Derek Falloon; who had two helpers on the night. 15 minutes later, Dylan Baer added his first of the season after joining a tenacious fore check, making it 2-0.
In the second, the Hawks started to show a little life and they were playing back and forth hockey until a Tayler Thompson dangle with just under 5 to go in the period. Thompson undressed Eric Bollefer with a between the legs toe drag, and roofed it on Liem to extend the 'Pups lead to 3-0. Shots in the 2nd were 11-7 for Nipawin.
The 3rd period would see a lot less hockey being played, and a lot more stupid stuff. The Hawks veterans seemed to be losing their cool, amassing a total of 104 penalty minutes in the 3rd period alone. They totaled 132 on the night, with Yorkton totaling 104. I won't point any fingers, but several Hawks displayed very poor sportsmanship in the period, and a fight in the defensive zone between Jesse Roden and Brendan Poncelet instigated a mini-brawl, which had 90 penalty minutes handed out at the 12:21 mark. With time running down, Brendan Hopkins would go after John Odgers, who wanted nothing to do with it, but went anyways; and that would be the last of the rough stuff and the game would wind down to 00:00 with Yorkton winning 3-0.
Final Shots on net after 60 minutes would be (officially)28-24, although the arena shot clock read 31-24 in favor of Yorkton. Jordan Liem played stellar making a few huge saves, totalling 25 on the evening. For Yorkton, hometown boy Kale Thomson stopped all 24 shots he faced.
Head Coach Doug Johnson was very displeased with not just the way his team played, but the way they handled themselves. During the Davis Rexall Drugs postgame show, he also made it known that he thought the game got out of hand with help of the officiating crew, who I think the majority of the 772 in attendance will agree; did a poor job of keeping both teams calm and controlled.
It was a game that started out boring, and finished with fireworks. But at the same time, those fireworks should have been avoided, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of the involved players from both sides receive suspensions. When I know if there is going to be suspensions, I will keep you all posted through the blog and twitter who is getting what, for what, and for how long.
The Hawks may have had a rough weekend, but I think there are great things in store for these boys. The young group of players is great and the returning core needs to step up, but when they do, watch for an improvement from the 34-win season last year. Besides, it's still very early.
I also owe a thank you to the rink staff in both Melville and Yorkton, they treated myself and the entire Hawks team with tons of respect. I had rink guys helping me make sure wiring was set up, and I had all the resources; and to get that help from strangers is great!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May it be filled with turkey and stuffing. And family!