The Haliburton County Huskies extended their winning run to six games this past weekend, with impressive home-ice performances against the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and Cobourg Cougars.
On Dec. 17, the Huskies welcomed OJHL South Division powerhouse Canadiens to the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena.
The hometown team got off to the best possible start, with forward Lucas Stevenson opening the scoring just a minute in after being set up by line-mate Oliver Tarr. Payton Schaly bagged a second at 3:47 of the opening period, before Bryce Richardson added a third at 14:55.
The Canadiens hit back through Liam Fedak at 17:46, the one blot on an otherwise excellent first period for the Huskies.
Christian Stevens scored a fourth mid- way through the second, giving the dogs an ultimately unassailable lead. The Canadiens rallied in the third, potting a couple of goals, including one in the final minute of play with their net empty, but Huskies goaltender Christian Cicigoi stood tall, making several key stops right at the death to seal a 4-3 victory.
It was a familiar sight the next night as the Huskies and Cougars went to battle for the eighth time this season. The dogs held a 4-2-1 record over their rivals heading into the game. The opening period went by without much action, with both teams a little slow growing into the game.
A hard-hitting opening to the second period played into the Huskies hands as they took control, but a sucker-punch by Cobourg’s George Krotiris at 6:42 gave the Cougars a lead to hang on to.
The Huskies pushed, but found an immovable object in the Cougars’ goal. Justin Easter made 38 saves across the opening two periods, to the frustration of 335 fans in attendance. The third period was following the same pattern, but then forward Schaly sprang to life. He picked up the puck on the blue line, danced past a pair of Cougars defencemen and lifted a shot over Easter’s reach to tie the game.
It was Schaly’s fourth goal in as many games since opening his account for the Huskies Dec. 10 against the Lindsay Muskies.
That tally changed the mood inside the arena, and just a few minutes later the Huskies found themselves ahead. Tarr picked up a puck from Pat Saini and skated in one-on-one with the goaltender, beating him over the shoulder at 17:19 to give the Huskies the lead.
“I had a lot of opportunities tonight, and maybe could have capitalized a bit early, but at the end of the day when the game’s on the line, I like my chances with the puck on my stick,” Tarr said. “It was a great moment, the boys were excited, the fans too… a nice way for us to finish heading into the break.”
Saini potted an empty-netter at 18:58 to secure the win.
Head coach Ryan Ramsay was in good spirits after the game having watched his team, albeit temporarily, climb to the top of the league’s East Division standings.
“That was playoff hockey tonight, and that’s what we’re good at,” Ramsay said. “This group is special. They’re resistant, relentless and just work non-stop each and every night. It doesn’t matter if we’re down by two or three, this group doesn’t stop. They find ways to win.
More than 50 fans lined up outside the home dressing room following Saturday’s game, as the Huskies held an autograph session. All players participated.
The team has a week off over the holidays, with their next game scheduled for Dec. 29 on the road in Mississauga. The Huskies will be back in action in Minden on Dec. 31, with a 2 p.m. tilt against the Caledon Admirals.