It was a perfect weekend for the Haliburton County Huskies, recording two hugely impressive victories over divisional rivals to secure their spot in the OJHL playoffs.
In front of a packed house March 12, the Dogs put the Lindsay Muskies to the sword, romping to an 8-3 win in what was a dominant display against their bitter rivals.
A night earlier, the blue and white came from three goals down to defeat the league-leading Trenton Golden Hawks 4-3 in what head coach Ryan Ramsay called an incredible display of grit and determination.
Fans inside S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena Saturday were treated to an offensive spectacle as the Huskies set new franchise records for goals scored in a single game and biggest win. Bryce Richardson got things started 4:28 into the opening period, slotting home after being set up by linemate Lucas Stevenson.
The Dogs made it two just 20 seconds later, Sam Solarino bundling home on the breakaway after a mistake from Muskies defenseman Logan Maunder. Payton Schaly added a third at 8:53, with Patrick Saini
notching a short-handed marker near the end of the period.
“We started well, probably better than any game this season,” Ramsay said. “We had time to work on some things in practice during the week, and credit to the boys for going out there and putting it all together during that first period. They came out strong, got a couple goals and didn’t give [the Muskies] an inch.”
It was largely one-way traffic again in the second, with Solarino scoring his second of the game, Isaac Sooklal grabbing his first goal of the season, and Oliver Tarr firing in his team-leading 27th tally of the campaign. The Muskies got on the board through centreman Duncan Scullion.
Richardson made it an 8-1 game early
in the third period. A late flurry from the Muskies, scoring through Boyd Stahlbaum and Nate Burelle, made the scoreline look a little more respectable.
“We were just flying out there. Playing with complete confidence,” said Solarino, who was named first star of the game. “I feel like we’re starting to click really well and get into a groove. We’re looking to go on a big run here as we head into the stretch. Show them your bark and gain some momentum heading into playoffs.”
Comeback against Trenton
Friday’s encounter on the road in Trenton looked like being a rough night for the blue and white. After a bad opening 30 minutes, the worst of the season according to Ramsay, the Huskies found themselves in a 3-0 hole.
In desperate need of a spark, Ramsay turned to his “Mr. Dependable” Patrick Saini. He dragged his team back from the brink with a remarkable hat-trick, turning the tide of the game. Just 30 seconds after Saini’s game-tying tally, fellow forward Cameron Kosurko grabbed the game- winner, sending the Huskies bench into a frenzy.
“It really doesn’t get much better than that. We didn’t do ourselves justice early in the game, but we really bought into the system during the third period and took the game to them. On our day, we know we have the quality to beat anyone in this league, but to come back the way we did gives everyone such a confidence boost,” said captain Nathan Porter.
With nine games of the regular season to play, Ramsay said he’s focusing on getting as many wins as possible to try and secure top spot in the East Division. The Huskies currently sit in third, five points behind the first-place Golden Hawks.
“There’s not a small game the rest of the year. We can’t afford to take a single night off. We still play Trenton and Wellington (Dukes, second place in East Division) another couple of times, and that can
make a big difference in where we finish, and who we play in that opening round,” Ramsay said. “We need to keep the guys sharp on systems and what they need to do, because when we’re rolling and playing our game… we’re as good as anyone in this league.”
The Huskies have a triple homestand this weekend, playing Friday against the Mississauga Chargers (7:30 p.m. puck drop), Saturday against the Golden Hawks (4:30 p.m. puck drop) and Sunday against the Caledon Admirals (3:30 p.m. puck drop)