Black Hawks stun Bangor with upset

16 years ago

The Houlton-Hodgdon Black Hawks started the regular season by stunning the Class A Bangor Rams, and the high school hockey community, last Saturday with a 2-1 victory at the Sawyer Arena. Bangor played in the Eastern Maine A finals last season and returned many key players from that team. The Black Hawks started the season with some holes to fill as they graduated seven players and had five freshmen in the regular lineup Saturday.
    The game started with the surprising Black Hawks out hustling their opponents through the first period. The younger Black Hawks constantly beat the bigger Rams to the puck and outworked them in the corners. The locals outshot the Rams 13-7 in the first period while controlling play over most of the opening period.
The second period saw Bangor come out of the locker room on a roll. They controlled the play for the first six minutes and outshot the Black Hawks 8-7 in the period. The Black Hawks finally got going and the second ended on an even note. Bangor struck for their only goal of the game at the 8:45 mark of the period and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
The Black Hawks came out in the third determined to make a game of it. With just 17 seconds gone, Morgan Hall grabbed a loose puck at center ice, beat a Ram defender at the blue line and skated in alone on the right wing. His hard wrister beat Bangor’s all-star goaltender on the far side to tie the game 1-1.
The Black Hawks weren’t done yet though. A retaliation by a Bangor player cost the Rams a penalty and on the ensuing power play Craig Buxton took the puck off an offensive zone face off and calmly took what the Bangor defenders gave him. While the Rams were defending the pass, Buxton skated to the side of the net and lifted the puck over the goaltender’s right shoulder to give the Black Hawks a 2-1 lead with just 1:26 gone in the third.
The rest of the period saw both teams fighting hard to win the contest. The action was up and down the ice with scoring chances for both teams. The Rams outshot the Black Hawks 12-6 with several grade A scoring chances turned away by freshman net minder Malik Abouleish. The Black Hawk defense blocked several shots and constantly cleared loose pucks from the defensive zone. With the Rams’ goalie pulled for an extra skater the locals held off a final Bangor push to garner the victory in their first ever game against a Class A opponent.
“Going into this game we had many questions that needed answering,” said Black Hawks coach Joel Trickey. “With such a young team we didn’t know how the new players would react to playing at the varsity level. We actually told the team that all we wanted was a maximum effort from everyone. No one expected us to win this game and we will be happy if everyone gives it their best.”
Between the second and third periods, Trickey and Assistant Coach Mitch Holmes looked at each other and thought that just maybe the Black Hawks could pull off the upset.
“The kids believed, and we came out in the third determined to take it to the Rams,” said Trickey. “The team played a very good game tactically and the effort was outstanding. This shows that we have the skills to have a successful season and we are looking forward to making our way back to the playoffs again this year.”
The Black Hawks have three big tests coming up. They played Presque Isle yesterday, and will travel to Orono on Monday. That will be followed by a home game against perennial power Winslow at the Millar Civic Center on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Hopefully, we can fill the stands for that one as it should be a very exciting game,” said Trickey.