SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Facing teams from throughout the western half of the nation at the Rocky Mountain District Regional tournament, the Havre Ice Hawks proved they are better than all of them except for one.
Flagstaff, Ariz. twice defeated Havre, including a 5-2 win in the championship game to prevent the Ice Hawks from securing the regional title.
"They're very good, very big," Havre coach Jack Benjamin said of the Flagstaff team. "Out of 18 kids, 14 of them were seniors. We have five seniors and a couple juniors. They just outsized us."
Brett Patrick and Jared Boyce each scored a goal, Jon Johnstone added an assist and goalie Eric McLain stopped 22 shots for Havre.
Flagstaff defeated Havre twice during the tournament, and certainly the most frustrating loss came in the Ice Hawks' third game of the tournament.
With the two teams tied 1-1, Flagstaff punched in a goal with just four seconds remaining in the game to escape with a 2-1 victory.
Cody McLain scored Havre's only goal on an assist by Patrick, and Eric McLain made 29 saves.
Havre had difficulty shaking off the rust accumulated after a one-month hiatus in its first game against Norwest Ice, which rallied from a 1-0 deficit with two goals late in the third period to win 2-1.
Jason Johnstone scored the Ice Hawks' goal, and Mark Benjamin and Jared Boyce each had an assist. Eric McLain made 24 saves in the net.
Havre came back, however, and laid a 5-3 defeat on Tucson. Mark Benjamin had two goals and an assist, and Jack Stilger and Boyce each had a goal and an assist for the Ice Hawks. Scot Sheppard added an assist, and goalie Eric McLain stopped 13 shots.
Havre also defeated Taos 7-2 behind Boyce's two-goal, two-assist effort and Garrett Drake's four assists. Kurt Wickel had two goals and an assist, Tim Healy and J.R. Morse had a goal and two assists apiece, and Eric McLain made 27 saves for the Ice Hawks.
While the Ice Hawks will lose five seniors to graduation this year, Coach Benjamin said, "We should be even stronger next year. It's been a long season, but I'm looking forward to next year."