The Haliburton County Huskies clinched a spot in the OJHL playoffs after a pulsating, come-from-behind 4-2 win over the Lindsay Muskies Jan. 21.
It was a full house at S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena, with 564 fans cheering on the hometown team in the ‘Battle of Hwy. 35’. The Huskies started well, pressuring the visitors all over the ice in the early stages and creating some good openings in the offensive zone. That work paid off when Ty Collins blasted home the puck just three minutes in after a nice give-and-go with Luca Rea.
A Rea roughing penalty 10 seconds after the restart presented the Muskies with an immediate opportunity to get back into the game. They peppered Tyler Hodges in the home net and, despite falling short on the powerplay, found an equalizing goal a few minutes later through Nicholas Sova.
Former Muskie Boyd Stahlbaum rung the iron with a ripper from the point during some four-on-four action midway through the period, with Patrick Saini and Collins also going close, but Yacine Chemrouk in the Lindsay goal stood tall. He made 15 saves during a frenetic opening period.
After being pinned in their own zone for the first five minutes of the second, the Muskies broke down the ice and scored on their first shot of the period. Braydon McCallum lifted the puck over Hodges’ glove to give the visiting side a 2-1 lead.
The Huskies responded well; Saini, Stahlbaum and Alex Cunningham all had great chances to bring the home team level but couldn’t find a way past Chemrouk. Veteran forward Sam Solarino eventually found an equalizer, jamming the puck in at 17:25 after a scramble in front of the net.
The Huskies kept pushing forward. They were awarded a powerplay late in the period and Collins took advantage, grabbing his second goal of the game to give the home side a 3-2 lead.
A busy end to the period saw rookie forward Leo Serlin drop the gloves after Lindsay’s Tyler Barnett slashed at Hodges, who had frozen the puck after making a save. Both players received 10-minute offsetting penalties.
The Huskies got into some penalty trouble in the third, but the PK stood tall. Captain Christian Stevens secured the win with his 18th goal of the season midway through the period, assisted by Saini.
“I think we started the game much better today than the last couple of games. Lindsay likes to play hard, so we had to match their energy and I think we did that really well,” said head coach and general manager Ryan Ramsay. “I was impressed with the way the guys kept going – we probably could have scored four or five more goals across the first two periods. So, yeah, happy with the win, and more so happy with the performance.”
Defeat in Toronto
A table-topping clash with the Toronto Junior Canadiens Jan. 22 saw the Huskies fall 5-2
Josh Currie gave the Dogs an early lead, scoring 6:50 into the first after being teed up by Collins, but the Canadiens came back strong, tallying three unanswered goals to give them a 3-1 lead heading into the third. Currie made it a one-goal game three minutes into the final frame, but that was as good as it got for the Huskies, who gave up two more goals later in the period.
The Mississauga Steelers took a battering at S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena Jan. 24, with the Huskies romping to a 10-0 win. Collins helped himself to four goals, with Stahlbaum, Cunningham, Saini, Declan Bowmaster, John McKinney and affiliate player Kyle Butt also getting on the scoresheet.
The Huskies have a home double-header this weekend, hosting the Wellington Dukes on Saturday (4 p.m.) and the Burlington Cougars on Sunday (3 p.m.).