The Haliburton County Huskies got back on track with a come-from-behind 4-2 road win over rival Cobourg Cougars Jan. 22 as the Ontario Junior Hockey League regular season enters the final stretch.
The hometown club is sitting comfortably in a playoff spot in the league’s East Conference with just 13 games to play, boasting 51 points and a 24-16-0-3 record.
Monday’s tilt in Cobourg was a big one, with the Huskies having the chance to leapfrog the Cougars in the standings.
It was a notorious slow start for the blue and white, who were pinned into their own zone for long stretches as Cobourg controlled the game. Trevor Hoskin gave the home side a deserved lead at 12:46 of the opening frame, scoring his 29th goal of the season on the powerplay, assisted by Kaiden Harmon and Andy Reist.
The Huskies were outshot 13-7 in the first period.
Head coach Ryan Ramsay got into his team during the break, and they were better for it to start the second. Centreman Charlie Fink potted his 12th of the season at 3:48, scoring on a five-on-three powerplay opportunity after Chris Brydges and Hoskin were both caught for high sticking within 15 seconds of one another around the two-minute mark.
The visitors grew in confidence, taking control of the game. They couldn’t find a way past the impressive Ryan Piros in the home goal, who made 15 saves in the middle frame. Michael De Sousa landed a sucker punch for Cobourg at 18:06, assisted by Hoskin and Jack Lowry.
The third period was one-way traffic as the Huskies took over. Lucas Stevenson tied the game 48 seconds in, assisted by Matt Milic. Ian Phillips got the go-ahead goal at 11:35, assisted by Stevenson, and Ty Petrou added a late empty netter at 19:17 to send the visitors home with two points.
A meager showing on home ice Jan. 20 resulted in the Huskies dropping a 4-1 decision to the West Conference’s Burlington Cougars.
The Huskies were flat for much of the opening period – outshot by the visitors 12-6. They went in behind at the break after Cougars captain, Jacob Bramwell, lit the lamp at 11:47, assisted by Justin Legault and Tommy Karmiris.
Owen Davies doubled Burlington’s lead 21 seconds into the second, beating Huskies netminder Brett Fullerton with a speculative shot from the boards, assisted by Eric Bertelsen and Alexander Stephen.
Lucas Digiantommaso made it a three-goal game at 2:16, taking full advantage after Fink broke his stick attempting to clear the puck – assisted by Mitchell Brooks and Gabe Runco.
Stevenson gave the home crowd something to cheer about at 14:50, scoring during fouron-four action. He had his captain to thank – Saini was relentless as he carried the puck along the boards on a breakaway before sending a pass to Stevenson, who made no mistake with the finish.
The Huskies created a few openings late in the period, but Phillips was caught trying to make a play on the blueline, sending the Cougars on a two-man breakaway, which Brooks dispatched at 19:05, assisted by Legault and Nikola Murgic.
The home side dominated the final frame, firing 16 shots to Burlington’s six, but couldn’t find a way past Kyle Metson, who finished the game with 32 saves.
Trenton 6-2 Huskies
The Huskies went face-to-face with the league-leading Trenton Golden Hawks Jan. 19, getting blown out in a 6-2 loss.
Blueliner Milic gave the Huskies a deserved lead 8:53 into the first, assisted by Noah Lodoen and Adam Smeeton. The visitors outshot their heavily favoured hosts 14-12 in the opening frame.
The Golden Hawks came to life in the second, firing four goals without reply.
Lucas Marshall gave the Huskies hope in the third, scoring his sixth goal of the season on the man advantage at 2:37, but that was as good as it got for the blue and white.
A busy period for the Huskies sees the team host the St. Michael’s Buzzers at S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena Jan. 27 (4 p.m. puck drop), before a road game against the Wellington Dukes Jan. 28. They’ll end the month on the road in Georgetown Jan. 31.