The first win is under their belt, now the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks are looking to get on a roll.
The Winterhawks took a relatively comfortable 4-1 win over the Huron East Centenaires on Friday night in Port Elgin, putting a smile on the face of Head Coach Jim Grieve.
With the rust shaken off, Grieve said his team was full marks in the win over Huron East.
“The effort was there [in the loss to Ripley] and the effort was there again, so I’m happy,” said Grieve.
It could have been a much different outcome, had it not been for the effort of the Winterhawks penalty killers, who kept the Centenaires from scoring on all eight powerplay opportunities.
It’s something the team has focused on in training camp, Grieve explains, pointing out the team has adjusted the way they play when down a skater.
“We’re trying something a little new this year, the boys are buying in and it seems to be clogging the middle up,” said Grieve.
The penalty kill featured the dangerous duo of Bryan Kazarian and Chris Minard, reunited from their days with the Owen Sound Platers. The pair generated several shorthanded chances, though the puck never quite found the back of the net.
The Winterhawks also had a big night from their trio of rookies, Lauchlin Elder, Josh Hopkin and Connor Patton, as all three picked up a point.
Grieve said all of the new additions are fitting right in.
“You can throw them out there in just about any situation, after the penalty kill, we had them out there on the powerplay,” said Grieve. “They’re fitting in quite nicely.”
On deck for the Winterhawks is a meeting with one of their oldest rivals, the Shallow Lake Crushers, this Friday in Shallow Lake.
There is not much expected in the way of surprises when it comes to the Crushers, who have a long standing reputation as one of the most physical teams in the league.
Grieve said that style lends itself to the smaller ice surface in Shallow Lake.
“It’s a small barn, it’s close quarters and it’ll be a battle all night long,” said Grieve.
The Crushers have been up-and-down out of the gate, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Shelburne Muskies on Oct. 7th, followed up by a 3-2 win over the Elora Rocks on Friday night, then a 9-0 blow out loss at the hands of the Durham Thundercats last Saturday.
The Winterhawks won both meetings between the two teams last year, winning 3-1 and 4-1 decisions.
The game goes this Friday, October 20th, in Shallow Lake at 8:30 p.m.
In the meantime, check out the latest TST Total Sports Talk. This week, Andrew Rodgers has highlights of the win over Huron East and sits down for a player profile with Lauchlin Elder: