by Mark Stillson
Last weekend the first seeded 17-5 (12-2 league) Hendricken Hawks took on the 13-9 (9-8 league) La Salle Academy Rams in the RIIL’s Varsity Hockey semifinal. The games were played on Friday and Saturday Night (March 8th, and 9th) at Thayer Arena and the West Warwick Civic Center, respectively.As the puck dropped and playoffs began, it was clear that LaSalle wanted to come out of the gates fast and send an early message to the Hawks, which is exactly what they did. In Game 1 Friday night, the Rams’ Delisle came down the ice from the center dot and shot one home just 19 seconds into the game. That goal sure woke up the green and gold. The rest of the game was somewhat evenly matched and hard fought with many battles for the puck, big hits, and great shots. The game was a goalies’ battle, as Proulx went toe-to-toe with Tyler Walsh of La Salle. The shot total for the Hawks doesn’t tell the true story of the game, however, as the Hawks only had 9 shots on net. The Rams added an empty net tally to seal the deal in their 2-0, Game 1 victory.
Game 2 on Saturday night was much worse, with the Hawks losing to the Rams by a startling score of 6-2. The only highlights of the game for the Hawks were the goals scored by Markowski from Creamer and Kim in the first, and the powerplay goal by Fera from Markowski and Kim. The Hawks had plenty of shots, with 27, but just ran into a hot goalie who wasn’t giving up any rebounds and never really faced a serious challenge. The Hawks just couldn’t establish any offensive momentum and just seemed as though they were resigned to their fate after their long season of play. Goaltender Mitch Proulx was responsible for giving up 5 of the 6 Rams’ goals (the lone other tally being an empty net).
It’s unfortunate that such a talented team could have such a great season and then have their worst weekend at the most inopportune time. LaSalle deserved to win the series, and if I were a betting man, I’d bet that even our guys would admit as much. Nonetheless, the ‘Boys of Winter’ had a great season athat just happened to be cut short. They defeated nearly every team that they played and ,overall, played like champions. They won their division and often overcame difficulties to win games and showed that they were truly a talented and determined team . Next year the Hawks will be back with everyone except Captain Eddie Markowski, Dakota Hersey, and goaltenders Mitchel Proulx and Craig Colson, so the Hawks will be in great shape for another run at the cup next season.