The Red Hawks boys hockey team suffered a stunning defeat as opposing I.E. Weldon scored with just 40 seconds left to take the win in Haliburton 4-3 Nov. 25.

The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School team battled back repeatedly throughout the game, erasing 2-1 and 3-2 deficits. But the Wild Cats dashed their hopes when Jackson Allen scored off the rush to steal the game.

“You have to always expect the unexpected. You have to work right till the end,” Haliburton head coach Jason Morissette said. “You can learn from it.”

The Hawks started the game well with an unassisted goal from Dylan Keefer in the first period. But I.E. Weldon answered with two goals in the second to go up 2-1.

With just two minutes left in the frame, the Hawks would lose a key defenceman. I.E. Weldon’s Cam Marshall hit Keefer into the boards from behind. Marshall was ejected, along with receiving a five-minute major. Keefer was able to move but was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons, in case of concussion.

“It’s a very dirty hockey play,” Morissette said. “It’s always upsetting because yes, you want that player in the game but you also want them to be healthy.”

Morissette added he told the team not to retaliate and they listened.

Instead, Brendan Coumbs made the Wild Cats pay on the ensuing power play, scoring with just three seconds left to tie the game 2-2 going into the third.

I.E. Weldon surged ahead with a goal in front of the net midway through the third period. But Haliburton answered, getting several good chances until Paul Turner scored off the rebound to tie the game with just 3:19 remaining.

“I just saw the rebound, goalie out of place, so I put it in,” Turner said. “All in all, we played well. Everyone did their job pretty well and we just barely lost.”

Morissette said the team will learn and work to improve defensively. But he expects more close games from here on.

“You’re working hard, you’re kind of staying in there. You’re trying to give it your best and I still think the boys did really, really well.”

The Red Hawks followed it up with a 5-1 loss to St. Mary’s in Cobourg Nov. 28.

“We had the score at 3-1 at the start of the third period but just could not keep up the pace,” Morissette said. “Good effort from all especially Carson Sission in net and our defencemen. I feel the team learned a lot about saying with a system and playing against a very experienced and talented team.”

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