What a terrific first home game of the season for the Under-13 Hawks.
From the moment they stepped on the ice, they seemed to be in a happy place, hustling well, passing with precision and purpose, and taking their chances.
Their reward was a richly deserved 5-2 victory over Gull Lake Greyhounds on Saturday, with a hat-trick from Finn Gustafson and goals by Kace Wasilow and Camryn Bock.
Assists were provided by Wasilow (Gustafson’s first goal), and Teigan Brost (Bock’s goal).
Gull Lake’s goals came from Landin Benjamin and Kramer Anderson, who was assisted by Bostin Service.
The two teams are in the Southwest Saskatchewan Hockey League. Other U13 teams are Swift Current Mustangs, Swift Current Rustlers, Swift Current Stallions, Shaunavon Badgers 1, Shaunavon Badgers 2, Central Butte/Herbert, Swift Current Chargers, Assiniboia 1, Assiniboia 2, Wood River, Gravelbourg.
In their opening game of the season, Hawks lost 10-6 to Swift Current Stallions at Fairview Arena East on Sunday, October 24.
To bounce back in such convincing fashion in less than week testifies to the amount of hard work put in during practice.
Bryan Gustafson, head coach, was delighted with what he saw.
“The team played hard and did a lot of the stuff that we worked on at practice,” he said.
“We corrected a lot of the issues that we had in the first game.
“All in all, I thought the kids really gave their best effort out there, so we were going to win whether we won or lost.”
Gustafson listed some of the issues that had been addressed.
“The dump and chase was working a lot better, the kids were hustling on any loose pucks, they were back checking harder, and they were making some good passes.”
Gustafson said improvements in the passing game – which had been a bit ragged in the first game – was a huge factor in Saturday’s performance.
The next practice sessions, said Gustafson, would focus on the Hawks offensive game.
“We are going to start working on some system stuff and hopefully get a little bit more flow that everybody is familiar with.”
Gustafson praised the spirit of his team.
“The kids are really happy about this win. They were happy as soon as they stepped on the ice and until they got off.
“The players get on well together and it’s going to be a lot of fun this season.
“From this point forward, the kids are going to really improve. They are an eager group and it’s nice to coach them.”
Next up for the Hawks is Wood River away at Kincaid Community Arena on Saturday, November 6.
Their next home game is against Central Butte/Herbert on Saturday, November 13, starting at 4.45pm.
So why not come out and cheer them on?