By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
The NHL may not be on the ice, but the local skaters of the Ice Hawk hockey program are with action starting off fast-paced and furious at the Havre Ice Dome.
The Ice Hawk high school squad kicked off the season on Dec. 2-3 with a pair of home games against the Butte Blues. Havre and Butte skated to a 4-4 tie as Mark Larsen's unassisted goal, with 1:21 remaining in the third period, tied the game.
Havre also got two goals from Andy Hanson and another from Josh Morse in the game. Larsen and Morse added two assists each.
Freshman goalie David Zentmire had a solid game, stopping 27 shots on goal.
The Ice Hawks got their first win of the season a day later with a 4-2 victory. Newcomer Ted Wells scored his first goal as an Ice Hawk to give Havre a 1-0 lead. Following a Butte goal, Hanson scored with 11 seconds remaining in the first on an assist from Austin Small.
Larsen scored the game-winning goal in the second period on an assist from Morse. Josh Strissel added an unassisted goal in the third period for a little cushion.
Zentmire was solid in the net, notching 36 saves in the win.
Havre took to the road on Dec. 11-12 for the Vulcan Midget Challenge hockey tournament in Vulcan, Alberta.
The Ice Hawks suffered their first loss of the season on Dec. 11, dropping a tough 4-2 decision to the Lethbridge Hockey Hounds.
Down 1-0, Hanson tied the game at the 14:17 mark of the first period with an assist from Larsen and Well. However, Lethbridge retook the lead late in the first on a goal from Oliver Lemieux.
Havre evened the score in the second period on an unassisted goal form Tyler Boyce. But that was where the Ice Hawks offense ended. Lethbridge got the go-ahead goal from Ryan Smith with 13:47 remaining in the third period. Tyler Dohl added an insurance goal as the game horn sounded.
The Ice Hawks' day was far from over. They rebounded from the loss with a 6-5 win over the Idaho Falls Golden Eagles.
After surrendering a first period goal to the Eagles, Havre ripped off four straight goals as Strissel, Michael Erickson, Small and Hanson all scored goals.
Idaho Falls' Taylor Braase ended the scoring run with a goal at the 7:01 mark. However, Havre was far from finished, as Strissel scored his second goal of the game and Wells scored what would prove to be the game-winner with 3:23 remaining in the second period.
The Eagles scored three goals late to make things interesting, but Zentmire and the Ice Hawk defense held strong. Zentmire had 25 saves in the win.
However, the Ice Hawks couldn't follow up the win a day later, falling to the host Vulcan Hawks 6-2.
Hanson and Morse scored early goals to give Havre a 2-1 lead. But Vulcan scored five consecutive goals to secure the win.
The high school squad wasn't the only team skating. The Ice Hawk Pee Wee team also kicked off its season on Dec. 4-5 far from home in Salmon, Idaho.
But the long road trip didn't seem to matter much as Havre scored a 6-4 win over the Salmon Savages.
Dillon McLain scored three goals and Jesse Majeres had a goal and three assist to lead the Ice Hawks. Garrett Lambrecht scored two goals and Justin Jensen and Blaine Grisak added an assist each.
Alex Sinclair had 20 saves in goal for Havre.
Havre followed the first win with a 4-3 victory over the Savages a day later.
McLain and Lambrecht provided the scoring with two scores each. Majeres added two assists and Grisak chipped in with one. Sinclair had 18 saves.
The Pee Wees continued to be road warriors, traveling to the Battle of the Bighorns tournament in Helena on Dec. 17-19.
The Missoula Bruins handed Havre its first loss of the season with a 5-2 win. McLain score both of Havre goals with assists from Majeres and Brayden Grimson. Sinclair had 15 saves in goal.
A day later, Havre skated to a 1-1 tie against the Gallatin Valley Freeze. Havre's lone goal came from Jensen. Sinclair stopped 15 shots on goal.
Things got even tougher for Havre later in the day in a 6-2 loss to the Butte Blues.
Jonathan Austin and McLain scored the Ice Hawks' two goals, while Majeres and Chase Rolf had assists. Sinclair picked up 22 saves.
Havre suffered its second loss on the third day of the tourney with a 2-0 decision to the Bozeman Stingers. Sinclair had 20 saves.
The Pee Wees continue their road schedule with games in Missoula on Jan. 8-9.