Black Hawks suffer heart-breaking loss

13 years ago

The Houlton-Hodgdon Black Hawks hosted the Brewer Witches on Saturday in a showdown of the top two teams in Eastern Maine Class B. Only three one hundredths of a point separated the two teams before the contest and that proved accurate as the Witches took a hard fought 5-4 victory in overtime.
    A packed house came to see the battle for first place in Eastern Maine B and no one was disappointed in the pace of play. The first period saw end-to-end action with both teams having several good scoring chances. The Black Hawks took a 1-0 lead with 12:54 gone as Ian Gervais split the Brewer defense and potted an unassisted goal. Malik Abouleish made several grade A saves to keep the Witches off the board.
The Witches tied the game with just over a minute gone in the second, but Sam Fitzpatrick gave the Black Hawks the lead again with a nice shot from the right circle, with the assist going to Jordan Brown. Brewer tied the game late in the period, but Gervais netted his second of the game to regain the lead for the Black Hawks just 18 seconds later. A minute after Gervais’ goal, Ben Ward was pulled down on a breakaway and was awarded a rare penalty shot. He cleanly beat the Brewer goalie to give the Black Hawks a two-goal lead after two periods of play.
The third period saw Brewer pull to within one after just two minutes of play. At the 6:06 mark, the Witches tied the score and for the next nine minutes, the two teams battled for the win. Regulation ended with the score knotted at four.
The eight-minute overtime was an even affair for the first five minutes, but a tripping penalty gave the Witches a powerplay opportunity and their experienced powerplay netted a rebound goal to take the victory and a solid hold on first place.
The Witches outshot the Black Hawks by a 32-22 margin, but the game was played much more evenly than the shot margin indicates.
“This game was perhaps the most exciting high school game I’ve seen since our team played Brewer in the Eastern Maine finals a few years ago,” said Black Hawks coach Joel Trickey. “The action was fast, rough and intense from start to finish. Our kids controlled the play for much of the game and we came away from this with a clear sense of what we have to do to get back to the Alfond this March.
“The kids are working hard in practice to improve our conditioning, as we ran out of gas near the end of the game. While we still kept up with Brewer, we didn’t have quite the energy we needed to finish out plays. That shouldn’t be a problem for the rest of the season, as everyone recognized that and we all are working to correct it. While it was heartbreaking to lose in overtime, we feel a lot of good came out of the game and are encouraged from the experience,” Trickey added.
The Black Hawks will be home to Lawrence at 1 p.m. on Saturday and will travel to Presque Isle on Feb. 1 for a 6 p.m. game.