It's home sweet dome for the Ice Hawks

Havre hosts the 2019 MAHA State High School Hockey Tournament in the Havre Ice Dome this weekend


February 28, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Ethan Roberts and the Havre Ice Hawks will host the 2019 MAHA State High School Hockey Tournament tonight-Sunday inside the Havre Ice Dome. The tournament will eight teams and 16 games, with the championship scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Over the past few seasons, the Havre Ice Hawks have been looking to prove that they can compete with the big boys of Montana high school hockey.

Well, after putting together a winning season, despite facing a challenging schedule, the Ice Hawks will a get chance to show what they can do at the Montana Amateur Hockey Association state tournament, which will be held this weekend in Havre inside the Havre Ice Dome.

While Havre has hosted the MAHA state tournament in previous years, the tournament is different this season because it is combined for all teams across the state. In the last few seasons, for instance, the state tournament has been divided up among Class A and Class B teams, which had to do mostly with records. However, this season has seen all 10 teams compete for eight spots and the Ice Hawks, thanks to a 9-8-3 record, were able to earn one of those berths.

"I think that we have done a nice job this season of playing as a team," Ice Hawks head coach Barry Brownless said. "They have done a great job of communicating with each other and working together instead of just trying to do things individually. Not they are all working together."

The Ice Hawks (21 points) made the field and were one of five teams in the state to finish with a winning record. Billings finished 37 points (17-0-3) and Missoula wasn't far behind in second with 32 (15-3-2). Butte was in third with 26 points, Bozeman finished fourth with 25 points and below Havre in sixth was Helena with 18. Kalispell and Glasgow followed that with 18 and 17 points respectively, to finish seventh and eight. Kalispell, a team that is part of the Ice Hawks group, is who Havre will open with tonight at 8 inside the Havre Ice Dome.

"I feel like this year is the first year that every team seems to be able to win this tournament," Brownlee said. "I think that it's going to be competitive and hopefully there will be a lot of close games but I think that it's anybody's game."

The tournament will feature a preliminary round of pool play and the eight teams that qualified have been divided into two pools. Havre is joined by Kalispell, Missoula and Butte, while the other pool features Billings, Bozeman, Glasgow and Helena. Butte, the third-place team will offer a stern challenge to the Ice Hawks Friday at 2 p.m., before the Ice Hawks will close out pool play against second-place Missoula Saturday at 10 a.m.

Havre split with Kalispell during the regular season winning 5-4 and also dropping a game 7-3. The Ice Hawks lost both games to Butte and were only able to manage a tie against Missoula 6-6, in addition to a 3-0 defeat in what was the opening series of the season.

While the Ice Hawks have had a lot of skaters contributing to the effort during the 2018-19 season, Ethan Roberts has put together a spectacular season with 62 points, thanks to 36 goals and 26 assists, both team highs. Bridger Staples has also been an effective offensive player for the Ice Hawks with 17 goals and 16 assists. Kinzee Peterson and Trennis Rily have been solid in net for Havre this season. Peterson has five wins and a goals against average of 5.41, while Riley has won four games between the net and has a GAA of 4.57.

Other key players on the ice for Havre this weekend will be Tavish McLean, who has scored nine goals, Cole Hanson, who has eight and then August Eacker and Donovan McLain, who each have seven. Trent Shettel has also added five. Other contributors for the Ice Hawks will be Dexter Beck, Kaine Beck, Joseph Kirsch, Noah Kirsch, Connor Mommey, Theron Peterson, Theron Peterson, Colby Tilleman, Jace Butcher, Bayron Merker, Jocelyn Staples, Rhoda Peterson and Roy Brownlee.

The semifinals will be played at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday with consolation game to follow at 10 a.m. Sunday. The championship game is set for approximately noon All games will be played inside the Havre Ice Dome.


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