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Fear The Flock!!

Fear the Flock

A recap of the 2019-2020 Hawks season (so far) By Andrew Irving Monday 24th, Feb, 2020

The Hawks players listening to “Oh Canada” ahead of there Sunday afternoon game against the Carleton Place Canadians. (Players listed left to right: Matt Gasuik, Azzaro Tinling, Thomas Winn, Dovar Tinling, Mark Cooper)

The Hawkesbury Hawks of the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL) are a mere six games away from kicking off their first-round playoff series in their quest for the prized Bogart Cup. Despite a slow start to the season, 1-4 in the first five games, the team rapidly improved under Head Coach Rick Dorval and his coaching staff. New game tactics along with new players added to the roster quickly righted the slow start and turned the team into one of the more feared teams in the league. Let’s take a look into the Hawks season.

Season Summary 

Goaltender Mathieu Chenier holds on for the save during action against the Ottawa Jr Senators

Over the Summer the Hawks added new young players who would improve the team adding speed and skill with the likes of Dovar Tinling and Zachary Lefebvre coming into the fold to fill spots left empty by the players who aged out or had commits to University or College Hockey. The Hawks started the season with a win but then lost the next four, by the end of September their record was 5-5. The team had a back and forth October winning and losing games but couldn’t seem to find a system that worked for this young team. November wasn’t much better but they did end it on a two-game winning streak where they outscored their opposition 12 to 3. The team then started December rough with back-to-back losses on the road, but then something changed trades had been made and the coaches’ new lineups and strategies seemed to finally be working to an extreme. The Hawks started a dominant eight game winning streak that changed  their season and left them ending 2019 off on a high note. They won two more to kick off 2020 before it stopped in Kemptville. After that the team bounced back strong with a 7-1 win against Kemptville and haven’t looked back dropping 7 out of the 19 games. With just six games left to clinch home ice starting Wednesday night at home against the Bears it’s safe to say the Hawks are locked and loaded and ready to soar into the playoffs!!

A change in the lineup? 

Luke Grainger celebrates goal #30 of the season after powerplay goal gives them the lead against the Carleton Place Canadians 

The Hawks roster has changed throughout this season, from the first game against Cornwall on the 6th of September to now, approaching game number 57 against Smith Falls. The Hawks coaches weren’t able to find a steady lineup until they started playing with the lines seeing who worked well together. Eventually the coaching staff started making moves to field a better more competitive team for this year and the next. The first big move of the season came in December when the Hawks acquired Kris Pietroniro from the West Kelowna Warriors the 6’3 forward gave the hawks some size up front. Days later the Hawks pulled off another trade sending Defenseman Jaxon Camp to the Carleton Place Canadians for another defenseman. The shot blocking machine Mark Cooper. The trades went quiet for a bit then within a week’s more trades came in. Thomas Winn the point producing defensemen from the Nepean Raiders came to the Hawks for Brandon Slawaska while also acquiring Cole Leal from the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL and later on in the month Ethan Grant from Burlington Cougars the joined the flock too.

Development of the young core and the playoff run

(Photo Credit Yeon Photography) Ready Aim Fire!! Mark Cooper lets a point shot go during a home game against the Carleton Place Canadians

This team has been consistent all season and a major contributor is the young core of the team with rookies like Dovar Tinling, Jeremie Payant, and Felix Sauvé. The second factor is the coaches who have had to show patience and work with these young players who are still learning to play a two-way disciplined style of hockey. This has made the Hawks squad all the more better showing that they can go toe to toe with any team in the CCHL. Head Coach Rick Dorval leads the way backed by assistant coaches’ Marc Bernique and Jeff Robert and a great staff of trainers that work with the Hawks players to ensure they are playing to the best of their ability. Dovar Tinling Currently leads rookies in the CCHL with 47 points in 45 games and has been by far one of the most exciting players in the league to watch while Payant is tied 9th with 26 points. The season has been a work in progress for the coaching staff to find a system that worked but eventually they did and now run one of the strongest teams in the league based on the pure depth of the team. From the first to the fourth line they bleed talent with players who hit hard finish checks and fly high like Hawkesbury Hawks players should.