Black Hawks contenders

15 years ago

The Houlton-Hodgdon Black Hawks opened their regular season last week with a 4-1 loss to Class A Bangor and then followed up with a 3-3 tie at county rival Presque Isle for a 0-1-1 mark to start the season.
    The game in Presque Isle saw the Black Hawks take a 1-0 lead early in the first period as strong fore checking pressured a Presque Isle player into an errant pass that Lowell Matthews picked up just inside the Wildcat blueline. He skated to the top of the slot and fired a quick shot past the Presque Isle goalie.
The second period saw the Black Hawks extend their lead to 2-0 when Craig Buxton found the net, with assists going to Cody Briggs and Elliot Mooers.
In the third period, the Wildcats struck back at the 6:38 mark to cut the lead to 2-1, but the the Black Hawks upped the lead to 3-1 less than a minute later on an unassisted goal by Morgan Hall.
With seven minutes left and a 3-1 lead, it looked like the Black Hawks would pick up their first victory of the year, but the Presque Isle team had another thought, fighting hard to cut the lead to 3-2.
Just two minutes later, the Wildcats tied the score, and with five minutes left in the game the momentum seemed to have changed. The Black Hawks regrouped, with both teams trying hard to score the winning marker, but neither team could come up with the game-winner, sending the contest into overtime.
In the eight-minute overtime, both teams had early chances, but were turned away by the goaltenders. Houlton-Hodgdon’s Malik Abouleish made a couple of grade A saves in the early minutes of the OT to keep the Black Hawk’s chances alive. Neither team could take the contest, as both appeared tired after skating hard the entire contest. Abouleish finished with 24 saves as the two teams ended the evening with a 3-3 tie.
The Black Hawks opened the season at the Millar Civic Center hosting a strong Class A Bangor team, which scored four power play goals, three in the third period, to defeat the Black Hawks 4-1.
The opening period ended scoreless, as both teams had decent scoring chances, but were stopped by excellent goaltending.
The second period saw the Rams take a 1-0 lead with 6:49 left in the period, but the Black Hawks tied the score on a shot from the top of the face off circle by Logan Holmes. The goal was set up by an alert pass from Hall across the ice to an open Holmes.
The third period proved to be a back breaker for the Black Hawks, as they took six penalties and gave up three power play goals to seal their fate. Playing short handed almost the entire period, they still mustered nine shots but could not counter the Bangor man advantage. Abouleish finished with 28 saves and the Black Hawks put 22 shots on the Bangor goal.
The first two games of the season, according to coach Joel Trickey, proved to reinforce a couple of key points to coming up with a winning season.
“In the Bangor game, at the start of the third period, we talked about not taking penalties, but came out and did just that to lose the game,” he explained. “The Presque Isle game saw us take a 3-1 lead and have control of the game only to lose our focus and get away from our game plan to again find a way not to win.”
These early season games are as much to find a team’s strength and weakness and to work on those aspects as much as winning the games, said Trickey.
“We hope the kids have learned the lessons the first two games have taught us and we can continue to improve our play,” said Trickey. “This is a young, talented exciting team and we think they have the potential to have a very successful season.”
The Black Hawks will be in action with two games over the weekend, as they host perennial power Winslow at 6:15 p.m. on Friday in what could be a key contest, and at noon on Saturday, the Black Hawks host Gardiner.
“Both these teams will be among the top Eastern B teams this year and both contests should be very entertaining,” Trickey said.
The Black Hawks game against York has been rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 29 at 5:15 p.m. at the Millar Civic Center.
“This should be another good match, as York was the Western Maine champion last season,”said Trickey.