Blackhawks halt losing streak

Talon Thomas tries to stay ahead of his opposition in a race to the net during a midget AAA game between the Beardy’s Blackhawks and the Saskatoon Blazers on January 11 at the Willow Cree Memorial Sports Centre

The Beardy’s Midget AAA Blackhawks snapped a five game losing streak by defeating the Saskatoon Blazer 4-3, in a shootout, on January 11 at the Willow Cree Memorial Sport Centre.
Before the shootout, the teams battled in a 3-on-3 five minute overtime. Twenty-three seconds into the extra period, Beardy’s went on a power-play.
Even though the Blackhawks didn’t score on the man advantage, coach Dale Grayston said he liked the way the team controlled the puck in the Blazers zone, generating scoring opportunities as they spent the majority of the overtime in that end.
In the shootout, after five players from each team couldn’t find the back of the net, Boston Bird stepped up huge for the Blackhawks by scoring the first goal. Saskatoon had an opportunity to extend the shootout but Beardy’s goaltender Shamus McLeod made the save to give his team the win.
Grayston was really impressed with the efforts of McLeod, as the goaltender came off the bench in the third period after an injury to starting goalie Kobey Clark, when the game was tied 3-3. McLeod was tested right away when he was inserted into the game, making a key save. He showed poise throughout the period, keeping the Blackhawks in the contest as the Blazers really turned up in the heat, looking for that go-ahead goal.
Both teams started the contest a little slow out of the gate, generating limited scoring chances in the first few minutes of the opening period. However, a Beardy’s power-play sparked the Blackhawks offence and shortly after the man advantage they found the back of the net.
Quinn MacDonald entered Saskatoon’s zone with a burst of speed and from the top of the faceoff circle fired a shot, then Ryland McNinch jumped on the rebound right on doorstep and shot it in the back of the net, to give his team the lead.
A few minutes after the McNinch goal, Dodge Long netted anther one for Beardy’s. Saskatoon scored its first goal of the game late in the period, but Beardy’s had a 2-1 lead entering the middle frame.
Beardy’s withstood pressure from the Blazers’ power-play at the start of the second period, however less then a minute after the Blackhawks penalty kill, the Blazers tied the game.
Twenty-three seconds later, Beardy’s responded when Matthew Ikert lit the lamp, which gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead. Grayston said he was glad to see the Blackhawks respond like that as that goal ended up being very important.
The scored stayed that way until the final frame. The Blazers again had the man advantage to begin a period, and just as the Beardy’s penalty expired Saskatoon tied the game. That’s when Clarke got injured and had to leave the contest.
Throughout the game Grayston said he liked the way the team did the little things right which contributed to the win.
The Beardy’s are back at it on Sunday, January 14 when they take on the Moose Jaw Generals at the Willow Cree Memorial Sport Centre. Game time is at 1:30 p.m