WALKERTON – The Walkerton Hawks played back-to-back games against the Hanover Barons, winning 3-0 on Dec. 28 in Hanover and almost doing it again on home ice Sunday, Jan. 2.
The Jan. 2 game ended in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Barons.
Sunday’s game gave hometown fans the chance to see new Hawks player Dre Leismeister in action. Leismeister, wearing number 12, is from Medicine Hat, Alberta and last played for the Blind River Beavers of the NOJHL. The 6’3” forward got off to a great start, scoring two of Walkerton’s four goals.
It may be the last opportunity fans have to see a good game of hockey at an arena until the end of the month – if all goes well – as new COVID restrictions take effect. Indoor recreation facilities are temporarily closed.
In the last game of 2021, the Hawks came out strong, scoring twice in the first period – Elliott McCarey from Kyle Durrer and Austin Brown, and Owen Troyer unassisted.
The Hawks held the 2-0 lead for the entire second period and most of the third, when the Barons got into some penalty trouble and pulled their goalie to get an extra attacker in a gamble that didn’t pay off. Jordan Borth scored a short-handed goal into the empty Hanover net for the 3-0 victory.
Congratulations to Hawks goalie Kyle Rivers, who earned his first PJHL shutout.
The fans weren’t disappointed Jan. 2 in Walkerton, as the Hawks came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score at 4-4, sending the game into overtime.
Hanover controlled much of the action in the first period but scored only once – Alex McGillivray from Chris Ferri and Ryan Goetz.
The second period saw the Barons score two early goals – McGillivray from Ryan Colquhoun and Colquhoun on the power-play, with assists from McGillivray and Goetz. Then the Hawks came together and took advantage of a Hanover penalty, with Jamie Damignani scoring from Durrer and Connor Prins.
Prins came blazing out at the start of the third period and scored short-handed to reduce the gap to 3-2. Leismeister scored on an assist from Brown to tie the score. Hanover regained the lead on a goal by Goetz from Colquhoun and McGillivray but before the period ended, the Hawks capitalized on a Hanover penalty to tie the score at 4-4 – Leismeister from Owen Tichbourne and Durrer.
Walkerton fans saw their hopes for a second win dashed when Hanover scored two minutes into overtime – Jonah White from Goetz and Owen Torrie.
The next scheduled game for the Hawks was to have been in Wingham on Friday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. The PJHL has since paused the season following the provincial government’s announcement on Monday of further public health restrictions to combat the Omicron variant.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times