The Haliburton County Huskies lost back-toback games last week as preparations for the new OJHL season continued.
The hometown team travelled to Stouffville Aug. 24 for a pre-season tilt with the Spirit, dropping a 4-2 decision, before falling 5-0 to the Renfrew Wolves of the Central Canada Hockey League on home ice Aug. 27.
Around 150 people piled into S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena on Sunday as hockey returned to the Highlands. They were treated to some fast-paced action as the Huskies dominated early on, forcing Ethan Dinsdale in the visiting goal into a series of impressive stops.
The Wolves took the lead against the run of play four minutes into the opening frame, Miko Khariman finding a way past Logan Kennedy in the Huskies net. Jace Letourneau made it a two-goal game at the eight-minute mark.
The Huskies kept battling, firing 15 shots on goal in the period but failing to find a way past Dinsdale.
“I thought we played OK, we had a couple of good chances early, but hats off to their goalie, he played really well,” Ramsay said
Tal Stevenson added a third for the Wolves two minutes into the second. Dane Carter put the game beyond reach with a fourth goal at 8:34, before Letourneau helped himself to his second tally at 14:21.
Not wanting to disappoint the home faithful, the Huskies came out flying in the third, taking control of the puck and creating several big openings. Patrick Saini went closest with a drive into the crease, which Dinsdale turned away. The home side kept plugging away until the final buzzer, which pleased Ramsay.
“We’ve got a lot of new players and they’re all learning a different system, sometimes results like this can happen. There was some confusion, problems with knowing who should be where, which led to a couple of errors on goals, but that’s what exhibition games are for – to get the kinks out and get everyone on the same page before the regular season,” Ramsay said.
He said the team got caught cold on occasion against the Wolves and Spirit, giving up several odd man rushes. That can happen with young players, several of whom are making the jump to junior for the first time, Ramsay added.
“It’s a big step up from U16 or U18 to junior. It takes players a month to get up to speed and really understand what we’re trying to preach and accomplish. It’s not easy hanging at this level, add to that this is the first time away from home for a lot of these guys, so we have 14 or 15 dropped into a new environment – there’s a lot to get to grips with,” Ramsay said.
“These first two games, for me, were about guys learning how to play at this level, getting their feet wet and showing a little bit of what they can do,” he added.
The Huskies will be back in action Sept. 2 at S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena when they welcome the Spirit to town. Puck drop is 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.