Hockey Hawks win Gold at American Cup Tourney in Lake Placid

Stretch unbeaten streak with wins over Fenelon/ Lakefield
By Terrance Gavan
The last time Ron Yake took a Hal High hockey team to Lake Placid was 1993.
   Coincidentally most of the players on this year’s Red Hawks hockey team were born in and around 1993-94.
Goalie Zach Harrison and Defenceman Zach Boice cover
the puck in the slot. Photo by Terrance Gavan

   Now, maybe Ron Yake told his current Red Hawks team what the class of ’93-94 did in Lake Placid; back when the current crop of shinny Hawks were being dropped willy-nilly and diaper-clad onto the bumpy Highlands countryside by a squadron of storks.

   And maybe he didn’t.
   But the latter day Hawks are a pretty canny bunch, and I’m sure that before they left by bus for Lake Placid last Thursday, someone looked it up.
   And found out that yes, the 1993 Red Hawks had won the 1993 Lake Placid tourney.
   So last weekend – Dec 17-19 – the current version of the hockey Hawks did the only thing they could do really. They upheld 17 years of pressure, pride and tradition.
   They popped the cork and brought that Anerican Cup back home to Haliburton.
   The Hawks stayed undefeated in round robin play on Friday and Saturday, before defeating Vincent Massey (Brandon, Manitoba) 5-0 in the American Cup Tournament final on Sunday morning.
   Big trip and a lotta’ games.
   Now if that ain’t enough. The Hawks grabbed their medals, a picture or two, and charged onto the bus Sunday afternoon for the seven hour trip back to Haliburton.
   They caught some sleep, went to class on Monday, ate some supper, and headed out onto the Dysart Barn ice for a league encounter against Fenelon Falls on Monday evening.
   The Hawks led 3-1 after one, 4-1 after two periods and stretched that lead to 5-1 midway through the third before surrendering two goals with a minute left in the third period.
  Yake was not overly concerned about that last minute breakdown.

   “I think it’s one of those things where you’re four goals up and there’s a minute left and you lose concentration,” said Yake. Keaton Gadway and Mark Vasey each had a goal and an assist, while Chris Judge, Jordan Howe and Brett Yake added singles. Chad Larue added two assists, with other helpers going to Ian Bottum, Ashton Hailey, Carson Roberts and Drew Paul.
   The Hawks played yet another league game on Tuesday afternoon at Lakefield HS. (See score and stats at the bottom of this story.)
   “Once we’re done this week, we’ll let the guys have a break over Christmas,” he added. A lot of the players on his team toil for club teams in AAA Midget and Yake explains that giving players a break doesn’t mean most of the guys won’t be on the ice – a lot.
   The Lake Placid trip, the gold medals and the chance to participate at the storied Lake Placid site where Herb Brooks and the US Olympic team performed that virtuoso Miracle on Ice, chopping the Russkies off at the knees at the height of the Cold War, way back in 1980.
   Sort of Christmas come early for these Red Hawks players, and especially heady for two rookie goaltenders Zach Harrison and Andrew Elia who managed to put together a pretty nice string of three shutouts to place that bold imprimatur on the tournament..
   “Our team played pretty well in al the shutouts and we limited the other team’s chances, but the goalies played well and they were solid shutouts,” said Yake.
   The Hawks tied Brandon’s Vincent Massey 3-3 in the first game of the round robin. On Friday afternoon they beat Lakefield College 3-1 and Yake said that was an important win after tying Lakefield 4-4 in a prior pre-season tourney. On Saturday they bust out with a 5-0 win over les Commandeur from Levis, Quebec and followed that up with a 10-0 victory over St. Marks from Newark, Delaware.
   “We got to play on that big ice surface and we were able to utilize our speed and passing to great advantage on the Olympic ice,” said Yake.
   “We played well and the key is that when these guys go to a tournament now, they go wanting to win,” said Yake. “We go planning to have a good time as well, but we are prepared to win when it’s all said and done. And that’s what happened in the final game, they were better prepared than the other team.
   “And Vincent Massey had some good players, but whatever it was, after playing them to a tie in the round robin, we were just more ready to play on Sunday.”
   Yake allows that the trip also served a dual purpose.
   The new York trip could play a huge role in the overall gelling and development of the Hawks says Yake.
   “The trip was a great experience for the guys, crossing the border, the long bus ride and playing in a different part of North America it was great for all of us,” said Yake. “Maybe most important is the camaraderie. The bus ride, playing cards together, it all just helps develop the team elements. It’s nice to win that tourney, but the exercise is good for the team as a whole. It’s good teambuilding activity; that’s what it is.
   The Red Hawks beat Lakefield High School 9-0 on Tuesday afternoon.
   “Another solid effort by all players,”said coach Yake. The Hawks were missing Ashton Haley (lower body injury – minor) and Brandon Yake (school commitments). “Lakefield worked hard but could not contain our offensive attack,” added Yake.
   Brett Yake led the way with three goals. Mark Vasey and Scott Griffith had two goals apiece while Carson Roberts and Drew Paul tallied singles. Ian Bottum scored four assists in the game and Andy Elia got credit for the shutout and win.

   Biggest test of the season comes in the Peterborough tourney in January