Patrick Saini scored his 35th goal of the season Feb. 10 – to narrow a Markham Royals lead to 3-2 late in the game – but it wasn’t enough as the Haliburton County Huskies dropped a 4-2 decision to the visitors.

After a scoreless first period this past Saturday at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena, Ben-Chaim Lalkin got Markham on the board at 7:10 of the second, his 46th of the year, unassisted.

The blue and white answered back right away as Charlie Fink fired in his 14th of the season, at 8:44, from Ian Phillips to draw it at ones.

However, Hunter Svicki put the Royals up again, 2-1, when he scored at 13:38 of the middle frame.

The away team then padded their lead early in the third, with Ray Hou scoring at 6:11 to make it a 3-1 game.

Saini’s marker came at 16:56, from Lucas Stevenson and Ty Petrou. However, Christopher Engelbert sealed the 4-2 deal with an empty netter at 19:24.

Logan Kennedy was between the pipes for the Huskies, turning aside 17 of 20 shots.

Huskies 4 Royals 3

On Feb. 9, it was the Huskies that took the game to the Royals in Markham.

Petrou scored his 15th of the season to open the scoring at 4:09 of the first, from Matt Milic.

Then, Fink was on fire. He scored at 17:10, unassisted, and a little over two minutes later, was back on the scoresheet with helpers to Aidan Yarde and Phillips, to give the blue and white a commanding 3-0 lead going into the dressing room.

In the second, the Royals scored the lone goal, at 17:15, off the stick of Lalkin.

Entering the third with a 3-1 lead, the Huskies looked comfortable until the Royals made it a 3-2 game off a Jake Barkley shot at 3:06.

Adam Smeeton scored just 14 seconds later, though, his third of the year from Milic to put the blue and white up 4-2.

Lalkin scored a late one, at 18:17 of the third, but the Huskies hung on for the win. Kennedy turned aside 19 of 22 shots in this one.

Head coach and GM Ryan Ramsay said he thought his squad played well enough to win both of the games against Markham. “Were they our strongest outings of the year? No. But it wasn’t bad, right.”

He said Kennedy would have liked the game-winning goal back on Saturday, so “that’s tough.”

Huskies 6 Chargers 0

The Huskies beat the Chargers 6-0 Feb. 13. Fink scored two in this one, with singles to Yarde, Alex Bradshaw, Phillips and Noah Lodoen. Kennedy got the shutout.

With just six games left on the schedule, it’s do or die time for the young Huskies.

“Points are going to be hard to get coming down the road here,” Ramsay said. And while four of the remaining games (Mississauga Feb. 13), Caledon, North York and Niagara should be wins, the coach said he never takes anything for granted.

Ramsay said it’s simple. “Obviously win. Touch wood, we’re pretty healthy. (Brett) Fullerton’s served two of four games (suspension). It will be good to get him back.” Fullerton got into a fight and landed the four-game suspension.

Ramsay said having a veteran, versus a rooking goalie, in Kennedy, can make a difference down the stretch.

Ramsay said his message is “where do you guys want to be as a team? I’m the coach but you guys are the team. Do you guys want to finish in ninth and go home or do you want to finish in fourth, third? We know what to do. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it consistently. We’ve teeter tottered with consistency all year, being a younger team but we’re more than capable of doing it. We’ve beaten the best teams in the league. It’s just doing it for a matter of 60 minutes, getting everyone to buy in. You got to put up or shut up.”

As of Feb. 14, The Huskies are in seventh place in the OJHLs East Conference standings. The top eight teams make the playoffs.

The blue and white are home to Trenton Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. and Lindsay Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.