Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hawks Take Down Red Wings, 2-0 On Road Trip:

Going in to Crescent Point Place on Friday night, the Nipawin Hawks had a clear idea of what they needed to do to get in to victory lane for a second consecutive night and they did nothing short of that, winning 5-2 over the Weyburn Red Wings in a game that the Hawks outplayed the Wings for the majority of.

Weyburn set the tone near the midway point of the opening period when ex-Hawk Ryan Ostertag buried his 22nd goal of the season, beating Jordan Liem midway up the net. The goal came on the man advantage for the Wings, with assists to Carter Struthers and Kyle Oleniuk. It wouldn't take long after that for Eli Lichtenwald to go bar south on goaltender Jean-Phillipe Boucher, on a beauty play that had Tad Kozun pick up an assist. Eric Bollefer also picked up a helper on that goal. That would really be it for the opening period, aside from a penalty taken by Cody Fiala with just 3 seconds left in the period.

That penalty would prove costly for Fiala and the Wings', as Wheaton King capitalized just 39 seconds in to the period, putting the Hawks in front 2-1 with a 17-5 shot advantage. Carter Berg picked up his 2nd assist as a Hawk, while Ben Johnstone added his first of 3 points in the win. Under 8 minutes after that, Johnstone would strike for his 6th goal of the season, and first of a couple goals on the night. Wheaton King and Carter Berg each pitched their 2nd points of night. Johnstone's 2nd would come just 3:20 later when the teams were back 5-on-5. Dexter Bricker, Jesse Bernard and Johnstone rushed in to the offensive zone with great passing patience, with both line mates drawing assists on Johnstone's 7th. Nipawin took it to the Wings in the middle frame, despite just one penalty being called in the period. Shots were 15-2 for Nipawin.

With just 2 wins in 25 games when trailing after 40 minutes, the Wings knew they were hot water heading in to the final period, and they came out playing like they wanted to turn the game around. Josh Lees cut the Hawk lead back to two goals 5:53 in to the period, while Ty McLean and Brian Farkas picked up helpers. But then, Tad Kozun put the dagger in the heart of the Red Wings, scoring his 20th of the season from Wheaton King. Kozun is the first Hawk this season to hit 20 goals. Early in the period Kozun got tangled up with Ryan Ostertag and the two came very close to dropping the mitts, but much like each incident that happened during the game, no punches were thrown and just minors were handed out.

Final shots in the contest were 41-20, with Jordan Liem stopped 18 shots for his 7th victory of the season. Boucher stopped 36 in the Red Wing net. The Hawks were 2/4 on the man advantage, improving their overall total to 14.6% at 34 for 233.

The final southern road trip of the SJHL regular season for the Nipawin Hawks will end tonight at the Duncan McNeil Arena in Wilcox, when the 25-18-0-4 Notre Dame Hounds welcome the yellow and black. The Hounds played in a wild 8-6 loss to Melville in Fort Qu'Appelle last night, and sit comfortably behind Yorkton and Melville for 3rd in the Sher-Wood Conference. With last night's win, the Hawks are now 27-14-2-4 and a win tonight could see them potentially pull 2 points ahead of Flin Flon for home ice advantage in the playoffs. Gametime at the Dunc is 7:00 PM with the CK750 pregame show getting underway at 6:45.

After tonight, there are just 6 games remaining in the regular season. 3 of those games will be at Centennial Arena, so make sure we fill the stands and cheer the Hawks on as they race to the playoffs. La Ronge is in town on Feb. 12th, Yorkton on Feb. 16th, and then on Tuesday the 19th the Melfort Mustangs make their final visit to the Cage, with that game being heard on CK750.

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