For nearly 38 minutes on Saturday, Dec. 1, the Nipawin Hawks’ home game against the Weyburn Red Wings was the definition of a hockey game.
Jaxsen Wiebe opened the scoring for Nipawin in the first, the Red Wings’ Cade Kowalski answered back early in the second, and the Hawks’ Josh Lester got his first Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) goal as a late birthday present.
During that stretch the most memorable event was Wiebe’s goal allowing the Hawks faithful to throw their stuffed animals on the ice for the Teddy Bear Toss.
The game went from mild to scary late in the second. The Red Wings’ Drew Anderson was laid out and left motionless for a few moments before being helped off the ice.
Hawks captain Gage Misskey got shoved a few seconds after the final whistle in the second period and admitted non-fighter Michael Makarenko was suddenly jumped and led into a scrap so fast halfway through the third he couldn’t even get a glove off.
Hawks Head Coach Doug Johnson noted there was a shift in tone for both benches after the Anderson hit.
“There are some emotions and both teams are a little fatigued,” Johnson said. “We got the flu going around and playing without a few guys, obviously they’re [playing] four in five nights. You get fatigued, get some big hits, and it’s going to get a little nasty.”
With emotions high, both teams had a game to finish, and the Red Wings pushed for the tying goal as the Hawks hung on to a 2-1 lead.
Hawks defenceman Luke Penner went off for holding with 58 seconds left in the third, and the Red Wings had a chance to play some six-on-four hockey with the goaltender pull to try and tie it late.
Cade Kowalski, who scored the Red Wings first goal of the evening, released a floating wrist shot which found its way in the back of the net 28 seconds later, and the Hawks and Wings were off to overtime.
The Hawks appeared to have quickly recouped after the late tying goal, as Colten Gerlib sent a breakout pass to Austen Flaman up the boards who scored his team leading fourteenth goal of the season, giving his squad a 3-2 overtime win.
“I think [we] were just a little... off,” Johnson said. “A bounce like that shouldn’t occur but it did and you’ve just got to fight through it. Obviously we did to score at the end.”
The Hawks matched a season high six-game win streak with Saturday’s win over Weyburn.
Exiting the weekend, the Hawks on top of the overall SJHL standings with 43 points, two points ahead of Humboldt Broncos and Sherwood Division rival Melfort Mustangs.
Johnson said the Hawks won’t make any other changes after the Dec. 1 roster cut to 25 players, with the trade of forward Zak Yewchuk to the Neepawa Natives in Manitoba being the team’s only move.
The Hawks host their division rival Flin Flon Bombers Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 pm before they head out for a three-game road trip.
On Twitter: @SchulzePANow
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