The Haliburton County Huskies returned to winning ways this past weekend, edging out two of their closest rivals to regain second place in the OJHL South/East Conference.
After a comfortable 5-1 road win over the Lindsay Muskies in the ‘Battle of Hwy. 35’ Nov. 18, the Dogs followed up with “a complete 60-minute performance” against the Cobourg Cougars at S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena in Minden Nov. 19, coming away with a 5-3 victory. “Things are really clicking for us right now.
Everyone on the team is buying into their role and sacrificing for one another, which I think is being reflected in our results,” said coach Ryan Ramsay. “We just wear teams down with the high-intensity, physical game that we play.” Saturday’s tilt, played in front of 489 hometown fans, was the latest chapter in the Dogs’ developing feud with the Cougars – the team that eliminated them from last season’s playoffs.
It was Cobourg that raced out to an early lead, with captain George Krotiris beating Huskies netminder Aidan Spooner on his team’s first real attack 4:42 into the opening period. Nathan Duplessis tied things later in the period, firing home his second goal of the season after being set up by Isaac Sooklal and Lucas Marshall.
The lead didn’t last long.
Andy Reist gave the Cougars a 2-1 advantage just seconds after Duplessis’ strike, and repeated the trick early in the second, scoring on a 2-on1 breakaway, having been fed by Krotiris. Duplessis bagged his second at 7:03 of the middle frame to bring the Huskies back within a goal. The Dogs stepped things up in the third, putting up three straight powerplay markers.
Forward Sam Solarino tied the game at 2:08, assisted by Alex Cunningham and Ty Collins, before Boyd Stahlbaum went to work. The winger scored at 2:57, assisted by Collins and Sooklal, and again at 10:35 assisted by Collins and Patrick Saini. The Dogs killed a pair of penalties late on, with the PK going 6-0 on the night, to bring home the win.
“Our special teams have been doing well. We changed up our penalty kill a couple weeks ago to adopt a more aggressive style. Under the old system, we were letting teams have too much time to make a play and it was really hurting us… since we switched, we’ve given up one powerplay goal in five games,” Ramsay said.
Demolition job in Lindsay
Tyler Hodges backstopped the Dogs to their big win in Lindsay, making 29 saves to keep a game Muskies outfit at bay, particularly in the opening period. Cunningham opened the scoring two minutes into the game, assisted by Leo Serlin and Nicholas Dowling, but the Muskies soon hit back through Liam Filip.
Returning to his old stomping ground for the first time since being traded to the Huskies last month, Stahlbaum gave the visiting side a deserved lead early in the second. Collins, captain Christian Stevens and Solarino added markers of their own en route to a convincing 5-1 win. There has been some shuffling of the roster this week.
After acquiring forward Luca Rea from the Milton Menace Nov. 18, the Huskies shipped defenseman Owen Davies to the Caledon Admirals and forward Chase Strychaluk to the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. Ramsay said this opens a spot for him to add another 20-year-old to the Huskies roster. “There are five or six guys on our radar. We’ll see what we can do before the [Jan. 10, 2023] trade deadline,” he said.