By Terrance Gavan
It’s a year of firsts for Hal High hockey, so we’ll continue breaking with tradition by following an etiquette of “women first.”
Gloria Steinham nothwithstanding.
Besides, we’re taught in “gud wryting skool” never to bury a lead.
And the lead this week in Red Hawk hockey is: Hawk’ girls hockey team backs up… and full speed ahead, to Kawartha playoffs.
Yes it’s a nice mish-mash of mismatched tenses, metaphors and hackneyed quips.
But no better way to put it.
Hawks lost their last game of the season last week and we left you hanging with the delicate cliffhanger.
They could still advance to sixth place and a playoff berth if the fates combined. To wit: If Campbellford beat Adam Scott, Hal High would advance to the playoffs.
Well, it happened. The Hawks are in the playoffs.
Yes, let’s double that up, because the guys finished an undefeated season on the road in Lindsey with an 11-1 hammering of St. Thomas Aquinas. They finish 12-0-0 and face Norwood today (Thursday) in the old Dysart Barn in a sudden-death quarter final drill.
Last year they missed a perfect season with a loss in their final game, so while first place wasn’t exactly on the line, pride and memory drove that bus right over Aquinas in this year’s wrapper.
More on the guys in a bit.
The Hawks girls, in their inaugural season of Kawartha League play, have endured the highs with the lows.
Sparked by some outstanding goaltending courtesy of multi-tasking Jillian Mayhew, defensive prowess of Jessica Duchene, the huge presence of Sam Tallman and the unequivocal scoring touch of both Megan Allore and Julia Fedeski the girls have demonstrated, pride, grace, and stoicism in the face of daunting odds.
Coached by Hal High principal Dan Marsden, Vince Duchene, and Bruce Griffith, it’s a team that will do more than just show up for their playoff tilt today.
They’ve drawn Thomas A Stewart Secondary in the quarters. “We beat then 3-2 here during the season,” said Marsden. “We’ll have a practice today (Tuesday) and see how things go. We snuck in, but we think we’ve got a chance.”
So sudden death… or sudden life.
Bottom line? The girls were staring at elimination last week, looking for Campbellford to work some magic.
This week they’re playing with house money. So let’s see if that translates to a looser grip on the sticks. And some subsequent lightness in the feet.
And let’s remember that one team’s backing in – as the Habs showed last year in the playoffs – is another team’s karmic revival.
So? Pick ‘em.
And the guys? Well karma not needed last Thursday.
Coach Ron Yake said the guys may have been haunted by last year’s epic loss in the final game of the season, leaving ugly black tread marks on an otherwise unblemished season. Not so this year.
“They (St. Thomas) were a bit overmatched,” said Yake on Monday. “We had a 9-0 lead after two and we instigated some passing drills in the third.” Indeed co-coach Bruce Griffith told me last weekend that there was a multi-pass rule embedded into the Hawks offense.
That led to a wide open scattershot sharing on the score-sheet.
Drew Paul scored twice with singles going to Jordan Howe, Mark Vasey Keaton Gadway, Brett Yake, Ian Bottum Chad Larue, Brandon Yake, Scott Griffith and Chris Judge.
Yake says that as champions they get to play the weakest team in the South, but he cautions that they can’t be taken lightly.
“The one thing that concerns me about Norwood is they’ve lost a lot of one goal games, and they seem to be in a lot of games,” said Yake. “I know they are well coached and they’ll play a good defensive style of game. So their overall record is not indicative of their potential. It’ll be a typical playoff style game.
“They’ll come and bring their best and we’ll have to be ready to bring ours and not sit back and wait for it to happen. We have to make it happen.”
And it all happens today on two fronts as the guys host Norwood at 2:15 pm at the Dysart Barn.
And the girls?
No more backing up.
Full speed ahead baby. To sudden death in Peterborough.