Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nipawin Overtakes Flin Flon, Sweeps Southern Swing:


ND was bumpin'! Poor picture timing.
The last time the Hawks made a trip to Wilcox to face the Notre Dame Hounds, the crowd was much smaller and the Hounds were much more dangerous in the offensive zone, winning in overtime in early November.

This time around, the 648 strong at Duncan McNeil Arena were treated to a very hard played game by both teams, with the Hawks prevailing in the end 3 to 2.

Much like Thursday's game in Estevan, the Hawks used a late first period goal to gain momentum in to the second. Ben Johnstone was set up on the powerplay by Ben Petros and Eli Lichtenwald for his 8th goal of the SJHL season. Shots in the opening period were 11-6, and until the dying minutes when Johnstone scored, the period failed to create any real excitement. Following the goal, there was a minor scrum in front that quickly escalated and looked to get ugly but a great job by the officiating crew got it broken up in time, although 5 penalties were still issued. Carter Danczak was sprung on a breakaway out of the penalty box, and used his speed to blow in front of the defenceman, but was stopped in tight by Salmon.

In the middle frame, Lichtenwald carried that momentum over just 1:34 in by going bar down in tight on Michael Salmon. Lichtenwald's 6th was one of his prettiest this season, and he has scored some clutch, highlight reel goals. Ryan Donovan beat Jordan Liem shortly after at 2:22, giving the Red And White Night crowd a reason to cheer. Yanni Mamais picked up the lone lone assist on Donovan's 8th. At the 7:32 mark, Jeff Datoff got the puck at the left point and fired a shot on net that was deflected by Arti Kalashnikov past Salmon, who was yanked after the goal. Artsiom scoring was big for not just the team but also for him, as he was a healthy scratch the night prior. The international ice sure helped Arti, he sure can fly and use his hands. Shots were 10-7 in the period and Nipawin looked much better.

The third was an exciting period almost each and every moment, with lots of little things happening that showed these two teams feelings towards each other. If they meet in the Canalta Cup Final, watch out ice vendors, there's gonna be a lot of bruised bodies. Speaking of bruised bodies, Jesse Williamson went down early in the game after being hit along the end boards, and did not return but the team is hopeful he will return to the lineup shortly. At 14:37 Kale Derkson, who was the best player on the ice, was absolutely flattened at the side of the night but the puck came straight out the slot to Logan Saworski who rifled a shot past Liem for his 4th of the season. For most of the remainder of the period, Notre Dame pushed hard but just couldn't beat Jordan Liem, who played his 4th consecutive game and 5th in 6 games despite a ready-to-play Davis Jones. This is a very well put together hockey team, and they are ready to play playoff hockey it seems. Final shots were even at 23 with Nipawin pulling ahead of Flin Flon for 2nd in the North and takes over home ice advantage in the playoffs.

The weekend was perfect in terms of wins for the team, going 3 and 0. Jordan Liem allowed 3 goals on 77 shots, Tad Kozun had 4 points, as did Ben Johnstone. Wheaton King, Eli Lichtenwald and Jeff Datoff all had a point per game, while Carter Berg turned in great efforts night after night, registering 2 assists on Saturday. There were a few family members and friends at each of the games and the players really appreciated that, as did Doug Johnson, who also had some company in attendance as his parents made the trip to see him behind the bench. I want to thank Doug, Tyson and Brian, and of course all the beauties they call the boys for making the weekend the best of my time since I got to Melfort/Nipawin.

Tuesday night, the La Ronge Ice Wolves make their last trip to the Cage for this 2012/2013 campaign, with the Hawks winning 5-4 and 3-1 over the Ice Wolves on home ice this season. It's faith night at the Centennial Arena and Eddie Russ of the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be in attendance! 7:30 game time! See you at the rink!

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