Black Hawks split

16 years ago

The Houlton-Hodgdon Black Hawks split a pair of games with playoff teams last week, as they traveled to Presque Isle and took a 2-0 victory home, while dropping a contest to Gardiner at the Millar Civic Center 4-2.
This further muddies the playoff picture, as every team headed for the playoffs is within a few Heal Points of one another.
    The Wildcats controlled play for most of the first period as the Black Hawks came out flat. Presque Isle outshot Houlton-Hodgdon by a 14-7 margin and most of the play was in the Black Hawk end. Netminder Malik Abouleish kept the game tied with several grade A saves.
The Black Hawks regrouped in the second and controlled play at the start. This gave Houlton-Hodgdon a power play at the 13:14 mark as PI’s Greg Cyr took a crosscheck penalty. The contest was decided in a span of 1:22 after that as the locals hit for a power-play goal by Ben Ward just six seconds later and then caught the Wildcats for a breakaway goal by Craig Buxton. Assists went to Buxton on the Ward goal and defenseman Zach Chase with a heads up clearing pass on Buxton’s breakaway.
The third period saw more end-to-end action, as both teams were giving their best effort to win this point-worthy game. Each team had several scoring chances that were turned away by the goalies. The Black Hawks had to kill off a 5-3 disadvantage with 12:06 left and after they did, Presque Isle took several penalties and the game ended in Houlton-Hodgdon’s favor by a 2-0 score.
The game last Friday night at the Millar Civic Center saw the local club quickly take a 2-0 lead on power-play goals by Chase and Buxton in the first 3:49 of the game. Assists went to Buxton, Ward and Jake Peabody. It looked like the Black Hawks would take control of the game, but Gardiner hit for two power-play goals of their own in the first and the period ended with the score knotted at two.
Not only did the Tigers tie the score, but they started the second period with a two-man advantage as the Black Hawks took two penalties to end the second. This proved to be the Black Hawks’ undoing as Gardiner took advantage of their opportunity to score on both penalties and take a 4-2 lead just 52 seconds into the period.
Houlton-Hodgdon kept playing hard and freshman Nick Chase found the twine for his first varsity goal at the 1:38 mark of the period. The clubs went to the locker room with the score 4-3 Tigers. Unfortunately despite several power plays and constant pressure the Black Hawks couldn’t pot the tying goal and the Tigers left town with a 4-3 victory.  Goaltender Abouleish finished the game with 22 saves and the Gardiner’s Howe stopped 34 shots for the win.
“Our two games last week showed the importance of being more disciplined in our remaining games,” said Black Hawks coach Joel Trickey. “The contest in Presque Isle was decided on a power-play goal and every goal by both teams in the Gardiner game was scored on the power play. As the season winds down to playoffs, it seems the teams that can play a disciplined game and stay out of the penalty box will be the ones that keep playing deep into the playoffs.”
Trickey said his teams’ games all year seem have hinged on his players not taking bad penalties.
“Of our seven losses, we can point to a couple of undisciplined penalties that swung the momentum to the other team,” he said. “Our ability to play a hard-nosed clean game will be the deciding factor in how long we play this year. If the kids can play to their abilities and make smart choices that keep us out of the box, we have the ability to go to our first state game. Our talent level is about the same as everyone out there and our work ethic is usually better than most teams we face.”