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Weekend goal fest suggests Hawks are starting to roll

Posted on November 18, 2021 by Maple Creek

Goals, goals, goals … Maple Creek Under-13 Hawk can’t seem to get enough of them.
In their last two games, they scored 20 goals – 13 against Central Butte/Herbert on Saturday, then seven against Assiniboia 2 on Sunday. Half of them came from Finn Gustafson, while Brayden Leismeister contributed five.
The Hawks’ offensive play is becoming a thrilling spectacle, with Saturday’s game featuring several breakouts, something they’ve been working on in practice.
“I was really happy to see the breakouts,” said head coach Bryan Gustafson. “It’s nice for them to apply those skills in a game, and bring the puck out that way instead of just running the puck from one end to the other.”
Just as impressive was the players’ mental attitude and hunger for success.
Even when the game was effectively over as a contest, the Hawks maintained their level of intensity. Unsurprisingly, confidence levels appear to be high.
“With a tough game coming up on Sunday, we didn’t want the kids to let up,” said Gustafson. “We want them to continue with their good habits and keep the play going.”
In Saturday’s 13-4 victory at Maple Creek’s Community Arena, Finn netted seven goals, and Brayden and Walker Thomson each scored three.
It was in the third period that the Hawks’ game came together most effectively, with some slick puck movements.
The players took advantage of the many opportunities that came their way.
“I think Central Butte/Herbert probably lost their legs a little bit,” said Gustafson.
“We skated really hard and beat them in the puck battles and won the game that way.”
The next day, the Hawks travelled to Assiniboia Civic Centre and emerged as 7-3 victors. Finn added several more goals to his weekend haul, while Brayden also increased his tally.
The season is still very young, of course, but Gustafson sees plenty of reasons for optimism about his team. Already he has witnessed then become smarter, better and faster.
Based on what he has seen so far, and the strength of opposition teams, Gustafson believes a top-five place in the Southwest Saskatchewan Hockey League is achievable.
“I have seen improvements since the beginning of the season,” said Gustafson. “The players are all getting better. We haven’t had a lot of weeks to practice. But I think over the next few weeks when we start rolling a few more systems – breakout stuff – they are going to get the hang of it and just get better and better and better.”
• The Hawks are next in action on Saturday, November 20, when they play Swift Current Chargers. The game at Maple Creek arena is scheduled to start at 2.30pm.

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