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Win streak ends, but Hawks still red hot

The Nipawin Hawks saw their season high 13-game win streak come to an end, but they still wrapped up another successful 2-1 week.

The Nipawin Hawks saw their season high 13-game win streak come to an end, but they still wrapped up another successful 2-1 week.

Against Melfort

The Hawks kicked off their week on a high note as they routed the rival Melfort Mustangs 7-2 on home ice on Feb. 7.

Josh Bly led the way offensively for the Mustangs scoring two goals, while Keegan Milligan, Brett Harasymuk, Keegan Kjargaard, Michael Grant and Daven Smith each scored once.

Kristian Stead picked up his 23rd win of the season, turning aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced.

The Hawks’ power play was especially good in the game as they finished the night 4/10, which was a huge factor in the game, said Doug Johnson, the head coach.

“We got some pretty good goaltending too and were just able to take advantage of some miscues by Melfort.”

Against Kindersley

The Hawks enjoyed a couple of days off before they traveled southwest to Kindersley to take on a red hot Klippers team.

The first period was a strong one for the Hawks as they scored twice off the sticks of Tanner Thompson and Keillan Olson. They never looked back, adding two more in the third on goals by Thompson and Grant en route to a 4-3 win.

Declan Hobbs was solid in goal for the Hawks, turning aside 35 shots for his seventh win of the season.

The Hawks were once again solid on the power play, finishing the game 2/2, but despite the win Johnson noted they could have been better.

“The guys battled and it wasn’t our best effort. It wasn’t our most structurally sound game, but we found a way to win, which is important this late in the year.”

Against Battlefords

Riding the 13-game winning streak, the Hawks traveled west to the Battlefords, where they took on the North Stars the following night.

The league-leading North Stars flexed their muscle early in the game. The Hawks could not recover as they fell 4-2 with Smith and Thompson scoring for the Hawks.

Stead was on the hook for the loss in the Hawks’ net, giving up four goals on 35 shots.

Johnson noted a big key to the loss for the Hawks was not having a full team effort, saying some of the players played a good game, while others struggled.

“Some of the things we talked about beforehand we did not accomplish. And our attention to detail was not as strong as we would have liked.”
Johnson did note that despite not playing their best hockey, the game was still within grasp for the Hawks, saying if they tightened up a few things they might have even been able to pull out the win.

Next week

Things do not get any easier for the Hawks this week as they travel to Flin Flon on Feb. 14, before returning home for two games on Feb. 17 against Humboldt and Feb. 18 against Flin Flon, before finishing their week on the road in Humboldt on Feb. 20 for a Family Day matinee.

The Hawks head into those games a combined 1-6-2 so far this season against the Bombers and Broncos.

Johnson notes that despite the poor record, the Hawks have been right in those games against the Bombers, having held a two goal lead heading to the third period and a one goal lead with under two minutes to play but could not get the job done.

“[We] need to be a little more disciplined, need to have a little more of that killer instinct and realize what we’re playing for when we play them.”

As for Humboldt, Johnson said it is one of those teams that the Hawks have struggled with throughout his tenure as coach of the Hawks.

“If we play our game, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, we’re in trouble.”