The second home-and-home series between the Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks began at the Centennial Arena Friday, Nov. 9, but unfortunately it lacked the same entertainment value as the first series.
Offence was hurting all around with both the Hawks and Mustangs having six power plays each and combining for 35 shots in the game for three early goals.
Justin Ball scored his seventeenth goal of the season 19 seconds in, and Jake Hobson shot one in from the point which beat a screened Declan Hobbs to make it 2-0 to the Mustangs with less than eight minutes off the clock.
The Hawks scored their only goal early as well, when Christian Bosa tapped one in less than a minute in the second period. After that, they couldn't find a way past the Mustangs' newest goaltender Shawn Parkinson. 2-1 Mustangs is how it remained.
Even Hawks head coach Doug Johnson called it an ugly game.
“We didn’t generate a lot,” Johnson told northeastNOW. “I thought we just had a lot of passengers tonight. We’re always going to play defence first, but the way we play defence is to get pucks turned over and play offence.”
“When we don’t move our feet in the offensive zone and don’t create turnovers through our forecheck and own pucks on the cycle, it’s tough to create any offence,” he said.
Friday marked the Hawks’ third loss in three games against the Mustangs this season. To put the Hawks' season in perspective, they have a 14-3-1 record against every other team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) besides the Mustangs.
Johnson believes his team’s system will work, but as he said earlier, the game in Melfort will be about not having too many passengers.
“It’s not like we change game to game,” Johnson said. “We didn’t make passes tonight, didn’t play with any speed through the neutral zone; it was just an ugly game so we’ve got to be better.”
The Hawks won’t be passed by the Mustangs in the standings after this weekend, but a Flin Flon Bombers win in La Ronge could see the Hawks fall a spot if they fall to the Mustangs again.
Heading into the second part of this series on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Northern Lights Palace, the Hawks still lead the Sherwood Division with 29 points in 21 games, four points ahead of the Mustangs, although they have played two more games.
On Twitter: @SchulzePANow
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