2018-2019 Game Recaps

Feb. 15 at West Kildonan 3-2 L

The WHSHL spotlight was on Seven Oaks Arena as game 3 between the Wolverines and Buckeyes was the only game of the day and the final one of the first round.  It proved to be an exciting match. The Buckeyes opened the scoring in the first, building on their momentum from a day earlier.  Treye Namaka blasted one from just inside the blue line and it found the net after bouncing off a few bodies on the way in.  The Wolverines would answer a few minutes later on a seeing eye shot from the point that beat a screened Manny Minuk.  The Wolverines would open up a 2-1 lead late in the second period after a turnover resulted in a two on one for the home squad.  Down one headed into the third the Buckeyes would come out of the intermission pressing to tie it but after a big kill the Buckeyes let Brody Lubkey get away and he was able to find Aiden Dexter in the high slot who deposited it top corner for the 3-1 lead.  The Buckeyes would keep coming however, and after forcing a penalty the Miles Mac power play would go to work.  For the second straight game Liam Eori would score from the point with some help from Quinn Sendrowski creating havoc in front.  It was Eori’s third goal and fifth point of the series.  Soon after, Treye Namaka appeared to tie it with a rocket to the top right corner of the net but the play was blown down simultaneously for a questionable offside call.  The Buckeyes kept pressing with several great opportunities, notably from Aaron Neilson and Quinn Sendrowski.  On the latter’s chance, a net front melee ensued as the Buckeyes tried to jam home the equalizer.  With the net empty Miles Mac threw everything they had at the net but it wasn’t enough. The season comes to an end in dramatic fashion but Miles Mac competed hard in the series to cap off the season playing the right way.

Feb. 14 vs West Kildonan 3-0 W

Facing elimination the Buckeyes came out with a large crowd of supporters behind them at Terry Sawchuk Arena. The first period featured good chances on both sides, as Rarog and Minuk shut the door for the Wolverines and Buckeyes respectively. The game began to swing in Miles Mac’s direction in the second period as the home team wore down the visitors with some physical play and a good cycle.  Quentin Clyke would open the scoring on a beautiful goal.  Clyke deked the goalie after receiving a deft pass from Liam Eori on a two on one.  In the third period the Buckeyes struck on the Power Play with Liam Eori scoring on a shot from the blue line with the assist going to Quinn Sendrowski for a great screen.  The Buckeyes outshot the Wolverines 18-5 in the 3rd period, salting it away with an Eori empty netter for an impressive 3-0 win and some momentum heading into the series rubber match tomorrow.

Feb. 13 at West Kildonan  4-2 L

Game 1 saw the Buckeyes on the road at Seven Oaks Arena.  After a tentative start the Wolverines opened the scoring on the Power Play but Miles Mac answered right back when Brandon Bilugan batted one out of the air at the side of the net after a solid forecheck by Lafleur. The game was tight checking until the Wolverines blew it open in the second, using their speed and skill to force some errors by the Buckeyes.  First, West K marquee player Brody Lubkey was hauled down on a breakaway leading to a penalty shot.  Manny Minuk came up big, forcing Lubkey to stretch too far on the deke and miss on the post.  Despite several other big stops by Minuk the Wolverines made it 2-1 on some poor net front coverage by Miles Mac.  The Buckeyes would then take a penalty and the hot Wolverine PP would strike again before adding one more for a 4-1 lead at intermission.  The Buckeyes came out hard in the third, outplaying the Wolverines and finding a goal from Liam Eori late, but West K takes game 1.

Feb. 8 at Springfield  7-3 W

Someone forgot to tell both teams that the season finale had no bearing on the final standings.  The Buckeyes came out surly after a pretty weak showing on Wednesday and were intent on setting the right tone for the playoffs.  The visitors came out and took it to the Sabres with some physical hockey, though did run into some penalty trouble early.  Springfield was able to open the scoring on a five on three advantage, but Kahl Dewar answered back late in the first. Just before the end of the period things got a bit hairy when Dewar, albeit with some help from the Sabre defender, took out the goaltender Matt Slezak while driving to the net. This sparked a bit of a melee and resulted in a lengthy three on three sequence and a few ejections.  The Buckeyes were able to capitalize with all the open ice however, as Aaron Neilson would score his first of two on the night. Things settled down a bit for the second and the Buckeyes were able to get two more goals from Clyke (first of two on the night) and Rollwagen on the PP.  It was 4-2 at the intermission.  Eori would make it 5-2 on a great feed from Neilson, but the Sabres stuck around on a beauty high tip deflection that fooled goaltender Reece Overby who was sharp on the night.  That was as close as the Sabres would get as the Buckeyes would pour it on for their highest scoring game of the year and a 7-3 win.  POG went to Neilson with 4 points.  The Buckeyes have some confidence heading into the post-season and finish the regular season 7-13-4.

Feb. 6 vs JH Bruns  5-2 L

The home squad was not equal to the task on this night as the visiting Broncos were a step faster as they had their eyes on a first round bye and a possible first overall finish.  The Buckeyes were lax in their own end and left starting goalie Manny Minuk to his own devices until he was given the night off down 5-0 after two periods.  To their credit, the Buckeyes did play a much better third period and didn’t throw in the towel.  Hryhoruk continued his goal streak and Clyke added one late but it was still very much lipstick on a pig.

Jan. 30 vs. SJR  2-1 L

The boys goes fall in another tight match-up with a good team.  The Buckeyes had their chances and this one could have gone either way, but Miles Mac can’t seem to close these games out on the right side of the scoreboard.  The Eagles opened the scoring before Scott Hryhoruk scored his second goal in as many games, this time on the power play.  The teams traded chances in the second, with Teo Nocita of the Eagles and Manny Minuk of the Buckeyes playing very well.  Minuk, in particular, made some great stops on a few point blank chances for the top SJR line.  The third period was tightly contested but the Eagles struck with their patented quick transition off a neutral zone turnover, turning a breakaway into the winning goal.  With the net empty the Buckeyes applied great pressure, with Hryhoruk having the best chance with just twenty seconds left, but he couldn’t get it in position to pot it into the yawning cage.  The Buckeyes finish the regular season with two games next week.

Jan. 23 at Murdoch McKay  6-3 W

The boys tossed the monkeys off their backs by bulging the twine a season high six times at East End in this one, securing a much needed win.  Quinn Sendrowski got things started with a nice tip of a Hryhoruk blast from the point on an early PP.  This was followed a short time later by the first of two goals from the diminutive Jayden Lafleur.  Hryhoruk would cash in a loose puck in the crease for his first of the season and a commanding 3-0 first period lead.  The Clansmen would show some life scoring twice to narrow the gap to just one goal, but the Buckeyes would get both of those back before period’s end for a 5-2 lead. Neilson capped off the scoring in the third with his second of the night after a great cross ice pass from linemate Brandon Bilugan.  Next up for the Buckeyes is a home date and a big game vs. SJR.

Jan. 22 at Churchill   1-0 L

The boys were motivated for this one as they laid an egg against the upstart Bulldogs on home ice in December.  The Buckeyes came out planning to play a physical game against Churchill who boasts a very skilled but young lineup.  Miles Mac executed this part of the game plan very well, taking away time and space and beating up on the Bulldogs pretty effectively and drawing quite a few calls both ways.  Defensive zone play has been a focus of late and the boys shut it down pretty well, with Manny Minuk stepping up to clean up the odd breakdown with a stellar performance.  The Buckeyes had opportunities but were not very effective on their shots and their execution on the PP in particular.  Despite holding the Bulldogs to just one goal the Buckeyes fail to register a point in a game that they could have had.  Frustrating one, but back at it tomorrow.

Jan. 16 vs. Pinawa 4-2 L

The boys returned to regular season play with a matchup against top seeded Pinawa who made the trip from the Whiteshell for this one.  The Buckeyes opened the scoring by cashing in on a PP.  Colin Pelletier delivered a laser to the top corner from the slot.  The Panthers would tie it just 40 seconds later on a defensive breakdown and the score would be knotted at 1 after the first.  Brady Tyslau would restore the Miles Mac lead beating the Panther goalie five-hole after a nice little cycle play with Aaron Neilson.  The pesky Panthers would tie it again late though making the score 2-2 heading into the third.  The Buckeyes were in a familiar position being tied or within a goal going into the final frame.  Unfortunately it was a familiar result as the boys could not muster a goal when it counted.  Pinawa scored at 12:14 and at 2:27 to take the game 4-2.

Jan. 12 vs. Steinbach  4-3 L

The finale of the tournament proved to be the best performance by the Buckeyes all season, despite the heartbreaking loss.  The Buckeyes looked solid throughout, registering 35 shots against a stingy A division team and burying three goals.  Unfortunately the Sabre shooters were on the mark in this one, burying four quality goals, including a beauty in the third period to break the 4-3 tie.  Dewar scored two more to finish with five for the tournament.  Bilugan had the other.  Looking to make this one a spring board for the rest of the season!

Jan. 12 vs. Reston  3-0 W

The Buckeyes made it back to back shutout wins, this time with Overby between the pipes.  The team peppered the SW Manitoban squad from Reston with 51 shots.  The Renegade goalie was equal to the task but Dewar, Neilson (both on PP) and Rollwagen were able to get pucks across the goal line. The win puts the Buckeyes into the B side final for the second year in a row where we look to defend our title against a great team from Steinbach.

Jan. 11 vs. Beaver Brae  3-0 W

The boys put an exclamation mark on ending the losing streak with a great win against a good squad from Kenora.  The boys played very well in the first two periods, with Quinn  Sendrowski scoring his second in as many games by going hard to the net once again. This goal was followed by another by the line of Park, Lafleur, and Sierhuis.  After a solid forecheck Jayden was able to bury it home on a friendly bounce on a pass attempt from below the goal line.  Dewar would spark the PP late in the period with a howitzer from the top of the circle.  From there, it was all Manny Minuk as the Broncos poured it on in the third.  A solid shutout win for the boys.

Jan. 11 vs. NPC   4-2 L

The boys were looking to get things going at the Winkler tournament after a tough start to 2019.  The team came out strong, building a 2-1 lead deep into the second period against the host team.  Kahl Dewar scored a beauty shorthanded after a slick pass from Cody Nixdorf. This was followed up by a perfectly executed 3-2 with Tyslau, Clyke, and Sendrowski.  Quinn put it home on a rebound after a great centre lane drive.  The Nighthawks tied it late and took the momentum into the third period.  They scored an early one and then went up 2 on the PP after an ill advised Buckeye penalty.  The boys battled to stay in it and got some big stops from Reece Overby but failed to generate much on a five minute PP opportunity.  The result was our third straight loss of the new year.

Jan. 9 vs. Kildonan East  3-0 L

The Buckeyes were optimistic about their level of play despite the tough loss a day earlier but looked discombobulated in every way at home against the Reivers in the most disappointing game of the season.  The team got caught up in the rivalry and were undisciplined in this one, not playing with much structure or smarts.  The team hung in there but didn’t challenge with many good offensive goal scoring chances. Back to back shut outs sting.

Jan. 8 at Shaftesbury   5-0 L

The score didn’t look pretty but the Buckeyes played a solid game at Varsity View.  The boys did everything but put the puck in the net, which continues to plague them and keep them from being rewarded.  The team had 30 plus shots and only surrendered 15 but the Titans made good on their opportunities.  It was a frustrating one but the team is making good decisions and playing hard.

Dec. 19 vs. West Kildonan  3-2 L

The Buckeyes were hoping for back to back wins against the Wolverines going into the break but were stymied by one of the better goaltending performances you’ll see in the WHSHL.  Brad Rarog faced 41 Buckeye shots and stopped 39 of them, many spectacularly, to preserve the win for the visitors.  The Wolverines did well to capitalize on some loose defensive play by Miles Mac early, building a 2-0 lead by burying on some grade a chances.  West K makes up for a lack of depth with some high end skill that was on display in this one.  After making it 3-0 early in the third the Buckeyes kept coming finally solving Rarog with six minutes left.  Quentin Clyke tipped one home in front on a shot by Nixdorf to spark the comeback attempt.  Kahl Dewar would bury with 2:01 remaining on a beautiful blast from the tops of the circles, going in off the back cross bar.  The last two minutes were all Buckeyes.  With the net empty Miles Mac had three glorious opportunities to tie it but each time Rarog made sensational saves to preserve the win.  A tough loss, but we’ll be asking Santa for a little scoring magic over the two week upcoming break.

Dec. 17 at West Kildonan  1-0 W

The Buckeyes traveled to Seven Oaks Arena to complete a game that was halted in the second period a full three weeks earlier.  The Buckeyes had built a 1-0 lead on a great individual effort by Cody Nixdorf and had been dominating the game when it had to be stopped due to an injury to a Wolverine that required the paramedics (the player will be ok).  When it resumes the Buckeyes had to kill a five minute penalty which they did effectively.  The team picked up where they left off controlling most of the play and generating some excellent chances but were frustrated by the great play of Wolverine goalie Bryce Pankewich.  Fortunately for the Buckeyes their own goalie, Manny Minuk, was equal to the task, making some big saves when called upon, especially late with the goalie out.  No more goals were needed.  Minuk gets the shutout and the Buckeyes get the 1-0 win.  They meet the Wolverines again to close out the calendar year in two days.

Dec. 12 vs Churchill  4-1 L

There has been steady improvement from the Buckeyes over the last month.  The team had put together a four game point streak, and even in Pinawa played a decent game in a tough environment.  This one was the first step back and the team will be looking to rebound next week with two games against West K to close things out before the break.  The Buckeyes just didn’t have the compete level in this one, and the result was a young, talented, and quick Bulldogs squad took it to the home team.  Despite the uninspiring level of play, Miles Mac did have a chance to pull this one out.  After Treye Namaka tied the game at 1-1 by potting a rebound from Kahl Dewar early in the third, the Buckeyes expertly killed off three straight penalties and were rewarded with a PP of their own with just six minutes left.  Unfortunately the Buckeyes repeated what has become a bit of a troubling narrative.  Instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to bury an opponent, Miles Mac instead got caught napping and surrendered a short handed goal.  This was followed up by another gift a minute later after the Buckeyes misplayed a puck in their own end.  The Bulldogs added an empty netter for the win. Only a handful of guys brought their A games to this one.  The team’s success of late has been due to complete three line efforts, and that was absent on home ice this time.

Dec. 7 at Pinawa   3-2 L

The Buckeyes made their first ever trip to Pinawa where a sold-out barn greeted the visitors.  The small Whiteshell town has really enjoyed their first season in the league and are supporting the team with great crowds making for an awesome atmosphere.  The Buckeyes looked to spoil the party with two early first period goals.  Quentin Clyke and Colin Pelletier scored within a minute of each other for the 2-0 lead on goals from good positions in front.  The Panthers started to swing the momentum in the second with a series of power plays.  The Buckeyes penalty kill held well, but Pinawa put some quality shots on net and Minuk had to be real solid.  From there, the Buckeyes could not retake the initiative and were a bit on their heels, perhaps feeling the effects of their third game of the week and missing a few key forwards out of the lineup.  Despite the heroics of Minuk the Panthers would score three times in the final ten minutes with the winner coming with just 35 seconds left to shock the visitors.  A tough way to finish, but we saw some great hockey and even a brief power outage.  The boys boarded the bus for home taking 6 of 9 points on the week but with a feeling of letting at least one slip away.

Dec. 5 vs. Murdoch McKay  5-3 W

The Buckeyes were looking to put together their first win streak of the year and they got the job done on home ice.  The Buckeyes have seen some great work from a lot of guys of late, but veteran Reid Sierhuis has stood out in the last few games. In this one his hard work finally paid off with the opening goal as he drove the net and cashed in on a rebound generated from a Zach Yarechewski point shot.  After the Clansmen tied it, the Buckeyes would go to work on their improving PP.  This goal again came from the stick of Yarechewski who looked to be shooting from the point but instead put a beautiful seam pass to the back door to Kahl Dewar who made no mistake.  The pesky Clansmen would answer on a PP of their own and the score was knotted at 2-2 after the first.  The second period was all Buckeyes.  Brandon Bilugan would score the home team’s second PP goal of the night on a big rebound after a good blast from the point from Brady Tyslau.  The Buckeyes poured it on but couldn’t expand the lead until there were only eight seconds left in the period.  This time it was Treye Namaka doing a great job net front and cashing in on a loose puck as a Clansmen penalty expired.  In the third Bilugan would score his second of the night on a pretty passing play with Colin Pelletier and Aaron Neilson.  The rookie used a quick release from the high slot to bury.  The Clansmen got one late on a bit of a fluke and kept things interesting but this one was all Buckeyes.  Owen Park gets the fishermen hat for his great work on the draws, his battles in the corner, and his impressive back check.

Dec. 3 at JH Bruns  4-2 W

The Buckeyes started the new month with a big win on the road against a tough Bruns squad.  The visitors, donning their away blacks, jumped on the Broncos early when Quinn Sendrowski tipped in a Kahl Dewar shot for his first WHSHL goal. This was followed up a short time later by a brilliant goal by Aaron Neilson.  With possession in the corner and options in the slot, Aaron used the time and space and deftly maneuvered to the front of the net where his patience with the puck had the goalie moving first and he calmly walked around him for the goal.  The Broncos would answer on a PP marker early in the second, but the Buckeyes were equal to the task on a PP of their own.  Again, it was Neilson who started the play from the half wall, finding captain Brady Tyslau with a beautiful pass through the heart of the Bronco box.  Tyslau made no mistake going five-hole to restore the two goal lead.  The Broncos came hard in the third and managed to get within one again on a great individual effort by their star forward Waldmo.  Some key stops by Minuk preserved the lead until Kahl Dewar could put it away into the empty net.  Great win and much needed three points.

Nov. 30 at Glenlawn  1-0 SOL

The Buckeyes put in another really good effort with lots of positives, but again could not secure the win.  This one was definitely frustrating as the squad looks to solve some offensive woes/bad luck.  Both goaltenders were stellar in this one.  Rookie Reece Overby was sharp all game, making some great glove hand saves, controlling rebounds, and being positionally sound.  He didn’t face a lot of quantity but the quality of the chances he turned away were impressive, especially two breakaways.  Unfortunately for the Buckeyes Glenlawn’s starter Brayden Anderson was equal to the task, making several huge saves from shots in tight and also on two breakaways.  The boys didn’t help their cause, missing on at least three partial open nets.  The team only took one minor penalty and this positive trend has been welcome and key to cashing in on some points in back to back games.  Unfortunately, while the power play has been improving, it let the squad down on this night, going 0/6.  Speed and crispness of passes were a bit lacking with the man advantage, though there were chances to bury.  That is what it came down to in this one.  Overby stopped four of six shots in the shootout, while Neilson had the lone goal for the Buckeyes on a slick deke.  the Buckeyes had the puck on their stick for the win a bunch of times, but it wasn’t meant to be.  The Buckeyes now have 10 points and will be looking to bank some more with three games next week.

Nov. 28 vs. St. Paul’s2      3-2 OTL

The team returned to league play after a three week hiatus.  In fact, the Buckeyes started a game two days earlier against West K, but it was postponed in the second period due to a Wolverine injury that required a call to the paramedics.  More on that game later.  In this one the home squad was operating with a very short bench due to illness, injury, and suspension, but they were not deterred.  Despite a few rough shifts hemmed in our own zone, Miles Mac was proving to be a tough team for the young and quick Crusaders to deal with.  The Buckeyes built a 2-0 lead on power play goals by Treye Namaka and Colin Pelletier.  Namaka’s goal came as he left the box to end a four on four situation.  Liam Eori fed the speedy Namaka with a beautiful pinpoint stretch pass and Treye put it in bar down.  Pelletier also went upstairs after some great possession work by Aaron Neilson on the wall.  Pelletier moved in from the corner and sniped it from a tough angle.  The Crusaders were able to tie it with just five seconds left before the intermission on a beautiful net drive by Alexander Cholakis, who tipped it by Manny Minuk.  The Buckeyes had several chances in the third to extend the lead but could not bury.  It came back to haunt them as, despite the stellar play of Manny Minuk, the Crusaders buried on a PP to tie it with just six minutes left.  In OT the Buckeyes controlled possession but again could not convert before the Crusaders scored again on a nice passing play off a net drive to take the 3-2 OT win.  The Buckeyes earn a point and Namaka gets the first “Sou’Wester” award for his hard work.  Treye was awarded with the fishermen cap we picked up in Halifax.

Nov. 17 at Dartmouth High (Tournament Semi-Final)      11-6 L

In between games the team grabbed some lunch and took a quick trip to Lawrencetown beach to get our first real taste of the open ocean.  The waves were gigantic and awe inspiring for our prairie boys.  We hoped the ocean breeze would help us feel renewed after the tough morning loss.  It had the boys in high spirits, but the game went sideways in the second period.  The Buckeyes started well, showing more jump and connecting on more passes.  The Spartans opened the scoring but the Buckeyes responded on their improving power play when captain Brady Tyslau was able to jump on a rebound after some good work by the D at the blueline.  Dartmouth would respond only a minute later and add another one before the end of the frame for a 3-1 lead.  It was tough to be down two but the Buckeyes were competing and were in the game.  The second period was a disaster and the game got away from Miles Mac quickly.  The team got in trouble with penalties, some legitimate, some very questionable.  Bottom line was that the skilled Spartans PP tallied a ridiculous five power play goals in the period, spending all but two minutes with the man advantage and chasing Minuk from the net.  It was 10-1 and the team had lost their cool.  The intermission was needed and the boys found a way to salvage the day.  Instead of quitting the team and coaches composed themselves and decided to play with pride and win the period and that is what they did.  Colin Pelletier scored early to set the tone and the Buckeyes poured in four more, including two from Eori, to dominate the period 5-1.  The Spartans hadn’t taken their foot off the gas, so it was something that had the team feeling better about our game heading home.  Jayden Lafleur got player of the game for returning to the tournament after his scary injury the day before. The final was 11-6 as we finished 1-3 in the challenging tournament.  We’ll take the one win and the experience playing these fast and big Nova Scotia teams.  A great time was had on the east coast as the Buckeyes have grown as a team.

Nov. 17 at Central Kings Gators   4-1 L

Due to the inclement weather the day before that forced several forfeits in the pool, the Buckeyes had already clinched a berth in the semi-final heading into this one.  This didn’t change much however, as the team is pretty hungry for wins at this point.  Unfortunately the boys didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to take down a very beatable team in this one.  The game started well as the Buckeyes cashed in on a PP.  For the second time this season Evan Rollwagen was able to bury from his position net front after a shot was directed on goal.  The Buckeyes were able to carry the lead deep into the second thanks in large part to the play of rookie Reece Overby between the pipes.  Reece would get player of the game despite the loss for some timely and difficult saves.  This was easily his strongest game to date.  This game turned in the third as the Buckeyes struggled to generate much offence and seemed to lose a step after the intermission.  The Gators struck on two power plays which was a theme in the tournament as the Nova Scotia teams were all quite dangerous with the man advantage.  They’d add one late, but the Buckeyes let this one skip away as they were in the lead or tied for the majority of it but couldn’t find that extra gear.

Nov. 16 at Auburn Drive    6-0 L

The host team was ready for this one.  On a full day rest and with most of their school in the crowd the Buckeyes were going to be in tough unless they could come out and play a clean and efficient game.  After a nice ceremony at the beginning of the game where captain Brady Tyslau offered made in Manitoba gifts to our hosts, the game got underway.  The boys competed hard and had some energy with the big crowd, but were not connecting on passes and couldn’t seem to match the execution from the morning.  To their credit the eventual champion Eagles kept coming and coming, not giving Miles Mac much time and space and wearing them down.  Five on five the Buckeyes fared well, but this was not a banner day for the special teams unit.  After one of our best outings just hours before, the Buckeyes struggled to gain possession on PPs and gave up one shorthanded goal.  Penalty killing was also below average as the talented Eagles squad were able to finish on some goal scorer goals after getting some cross ice passes through the box and diamond.  The Eagles converted on four of their seven power plays to pretty much seal up the game.

Nov. 16 vs. Cole Harbour     4-2 W

It seemed like a miracle that the Buckeyes even made it to their first game of the Macneill Motors Classic in Cole Harbour Nova Scotia.  After departing Winnipeg early on Wednesday morning, the team did not reach the Halifax area until nearly 3 PM Thursday.  A massive wind storm closed down the airport and the team was forced to divert to Fredericton.  This was after what had already been a six hour delay in Toronto.  The boys made the best of it, enjoying a pizza party at the Ramada in the New Brunswick capital before getting some rest.  They woke up to a morning bus ride to complete the journey.  The next day greeted us with a massive snow storm.  Our team bus got stuck on the way, unable to negotiate its way up one of the many slippery hills in Halifax.  Trapped with nowhere to go, our bus driver decided to try to off road over a berm to the highway.  With Coach DeLeeuw and Mr. Sendrowski blocking traffic, the converted school bus managed to make the run successfully.  The game had a delayed start, but the boys made it.  Not surprisingly perhaps, the game itself was as wild as the trip had been.  The Buckeyes got off to a phenomenal start, carrying the play and forcing the Cavaliers to take several penalties.  Aaron Neilson would score two PP goals in the first period, and Cody Nixdorf would add another to build a 3-0 lead.  From that point on things got a bit silly, as the Cavaliers seemed to be in a bit of an ornery mood.  Most of the rest of the game was played 4 on 4 or on special teams as several on ice skirmishes resulted in ejections on both sides.  By the end of the game Cole Harbour only had six skaters.  The boys were able to hold on for a solid 4-2 win.  Starting goalie Manny Minuk was stellar in this one, making a “save of the year” candidate in the second, absolutely robbing a Cavalier with an acrobatic pad save cross crease.  He was our best penalty killer in this one and was full marks for the win.  We also had some great hustle from Quentin Clyke, Reid Sierhuis, and Treye Namaka notably, but not exclusively, up front.  A vey solid win against a good team to start the tournament.

Nov. 7 vs. Springfield    4-1 L

The Buckeyes were hungry for a win and looked the part for most of this one.  The result would not be there again however.  Reece Overby kept the Buckeyes in the game in the first five minutes as the boys got off to a slow start.  From that point on though, it was all Miles Mac. Despite dominating possession and zone time, the Buckeyes could not turn it into goals due to a combination of good goaltending, poor execution, and just plain bad luck.  Meanwhile the Sabres, to their credit, made some plays when they had the chance.  Two goals were scored on great individual efforts and some loose pinches by the Buckeyes who were frustrated and pressing hard for goals.  Kahl Dewar would score in the third to narrow the gap to 2-1, but that was as close as the Buckeyes could get.  A frustrating game, but the Buckeyes are playing the right way for large portions of games, and there is obvious improvement.  Have to continue to plug away and work hard and the results will come.  Next up – Nova Scotia!

Nov. 6 at St. Paul’s 2      3-2 SOL

The Buckeyes and Crusaders treated fans to a great example of high school hockey in this one.  It was a fast paced, clean, and competitive game.  St. Paul’s was able to build a 2-0 lead deep into the second period by capitalizing on a few errors in the defensive zone by the Buckeyes.  The visitors carried much of the play in the first two frames, but were unable to solve the goaltender.  Fortunately for the Buckeyes they broke through late in the second to gain some momentum.  Aaron Neilson blocked a shot and broke through for a breakaway.  Though he was stopped, Treye Namaka came in and jammed home the rebound.  The Buckeyes pressed hard in the third, finally evening the score with five minutes left.  Liam Eori did it himself, intercepting a pass at the blue line and waltzing in, beating the goalie with a great shot from the slot.  Manny Minuk made a few key saves late to get the game to OT.  The Buckeyes were awarded a PP but were unable to capitalize when they were assessed a double minor just a few seconds in.  This missed opportunity came back to haunt the visitors.  A great PK got it to the shootout but like the first game of the season the Buckeyes were unable to score in the skills competition.  Buckeyes get a point but again feel like they left a win off the board.

Nov. 2 at Kildonan East   5-3 W

Sawchuk was packed for this neighbourhood rivalry between the Buckeyes and the Reivers.  Miles Mac was a visitor in their home rink, donning their black jerseys and relegated to the visitor dressing room and bench.  They came out firing on all cylinders though, with Aaron Neilson potting a goal on the first shift after some great work by his linemates Treye Namaka and Kahl Dewar.  That trio would continue to produce later in the period on the power play, this time with Dewar scoring.  The Buckeyes would continue to take it to the Reivers with Neilson notching his second goal on a pretty passing play.  The boys would take a 3-0 lead into the intermission.  The Buckeyes looked to seal it on some great penalty kill work by Colin Pelletier.  After blocking a shot, Pelletier took the puck down on a breakaway and deftly beat the Reiver goalie on a beautiful deke.  At 4-0 most observers thought it was over but the Reivers did not give up.  After making it 4-1 the Reivers got a few goals on some unlucky bounces for the Buckeyes and all of a sudden it was 4-3.  With the Reivers pressing the Buckeyes held them off the scoresheet until Liam Eori put one into the empty net from his side of centre with 45 seconds left.  A solid win for the Buckeyes, but a little too close for comfort after having a commanding lead.

Oct. 31 vs. Shaftesbury   4-2 L

The Buckeyes were looking to make it two wins in a row for the first time this season.  The boys looked to be on their way as they were the better team by a fairly significant margin for the first two periods.  Unfortunately, they ran into a hot goaltender and also failed to execute on a few opportunities, especially on the PP.  The result was that the home team only lead 1-0 going into the break on a beautiful net front play by Aaron Neilson.  The Titans came out with a better third period and took advantage of some defensive errors to take a 2-1 lead before Brandon Bilugan tied it with five minutes left in the third.  Bilugan had two points on the night and leads the team in scoring as a grade 10 rookie.  To their credit the Titans answered a minute later and then put one in the empty net to hand the Buckeyes a tough loss and a 1-3-1 record.  It wasn’t a great result but the team played well as it continues to battle through a significant number of man games lost due to injury and suspension.

Oct. 29 vs. Glenlawn  5-1 W

The Buckeyes put everything together for a complete three period effort in this one.  The Lions from Glenlawn were off to a good start to the season but were chasing this game from the start as the home team brought their skating legs.  Owen Park opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games by capitalizing on a Lions turnover.  The Buckeyes would take a 2-0 lead off of another turnover, this time Liam Eori put it home on the backhand.  Glenlawn got some life late in the period when their leading scorer Dorian Wasacase beat Reece Overby from the high slot early in a five minute PP after Quinn Sendrowski was sent off for a check from behind.  The Buckeyes kept their feet moving and drew two minors that pretty much snuffed out the rest of the major penalty, and then poured it on in the third.  Evan Rollwagen potted two, one by mucking it up in front at the end of a power play and the second on a blast from his traditional post at the point.  Kahl Dewar added the other goal on a howitizer of a shot.  Though he didn’t figure in the scoring, the team got a ton of energy from Treye Namaka who was a beast on the forecheck all night.

Oct. 24 at Murdoch Mackay 3-2 L

The boys were down quite a few bodies but hungry for their first win of the regular season.  The game started very well, with the Buckeyes dominating the first five minutes and Brandon Bilugan capitalizing on a turnover with a slick deke to his backhand for a 1-0 lead.  Bilugan looked to have his second of the game in the middle frame after some nice work down low by Namaka, but the goal was called off controversially when the net was deemed to be off its moorings.  The Buckeyes would shake it off and score again a few minutes later to officially make it 2-0 when Owen Park banged one home in front after a solid forecheck and pass from Kahl Dewar.  The Clansmen would get one back but the boys had a 2-1 lead headed into the third.  The final period was a disappointing one, with the Buckeyes taking a couple penalties and surrendering two goals while a man short.  Despite some opportunities late the Buckeyes were sloppy for much of the period and let a winnable game slip away.

Oct. 21 at Oak Park    6-5 L

The team was down to just ten skaters pretty early in this one, but there was a real hunger to get a win against the Raiders and a reward for what had been a tough tourney.  This one featured a ton of offence and the lead switched hands on several occasions.  Cody Nixdorf opened the scoring with a point shot that somehow found it’s way between the pipes. Rookie Brandon Bilugan was a threat all game, notching his first multi goal game of the season.  The Buckeyes fought back from a 5-3 third period deficit to tie the game but gave up the winning goal late.  The team fought hard through a lot of adversity and have thus far fallen short but better results are not far off.  The pace and competition at the Husky prepares the team well for the rest of the regular season.

Oct. 20 vs Sturgeon Heights 4-2 L

The boys were short handed and beat up going into a date with one of the league’s top outfits.  Despite this, the team scratched and clawed and almost stole one.  The Buckeyes opened the scoring on a bit of a flukey goal when Park threw a puck to the net, but they all count.  After the Huskies tied it, Yarechewski would score his second of the tournament.  Treye Namaka used his speed to the outside and fired a pass to Yarechewski who was driving hard middle lane and had the puck hit him and beat the goalie.  A good example of the smart hockey played by the team on this day.  Unfortunately, despite the efforts of starting goalie Manny Minuk, the Huskies would wear down the Buckeyes and take the W, but they had to earn it against a gritty and much better disciplined opponent.

Oct. 19 vs CJS    5-1 L

The team was not able to build on the positives from last game.  Despite a great start the team got into penalty trouble and this gave a fast CJS team some momentum and too many opportunities.  Kahl Dewar was able to notch his second in as many days on a pure effort goal but the Buckeyes never really challenged in this one.  Some tough lessons for the boys.

Oct. 18 at SJR (Husky Tourney) 7-4 L

The Buckeyes got off to a tough start in this one, surrendering three goals in the first five minutes and finding themselves down 3-1.  The team fought back to take a 4-3 lead deep into the second.  Goal scorers were Bilugan, Yarechewski, Park, and Dewar.  A late PP goal by SJR knotted things up for the intermission.  Despite some great offensive pressure the Buckeyes were stymied in the third period.  Meanwhile, SJR took advantage of a few miscues to score a goal on a breakaway and a penalty shot.  They added one late to wrap it up.  Tough result in a game where the Buckeyes looked quite strong for long periods of play.

Oct. 17 vs JH Bruns   4-1 L

The Buckeyes fell to 0-1-1 on the season with a loss on home ice vs. the Broncos.  The visitors were the quicker and the sharper of the two squads but Miles Mac hung in there, trailing only 2-1 after two periods despite being out shot by a wide margin. Overby overcame some early butterflies to be very solid and  Aaron Neilson popped home his first of the year on the PP for the Buckeyes.  The special teams were very strong in this one as the team was dangerous on the PP all night and also killed 100 seconds of a two man disadvantage.  Unfortunately, with the Buckeyes pushing for the tying goal, the Broncos struck twice in the latter half of the period to put the game away.

Oct. 12 at SJR       3-2 SOL

The 2018-2019 regular season kicked off on a Friday afternoon at Dutton as the Buckeyes squared off against Ravenscourt.  The boys were in high spirits in their road blacks with several players making their official WHSHL debuts.  In fact, the Buckeyes opened the scoring when rookie Brandon Bilugan tipped home a deft shot-pass from Brady Tyslau at the point.  The team took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.  After a short and unsuccessful five on three PP the Buckeyes got caught asleep at the wheel and gave up a shorthanded marker to the Eagles.  The game would go to the intermission knotted at one.  Miles Mac would regain the lead early in the third when Quentin Clyke, another rookie grade 10 player, banged home a loose puck in front after a solid forechecking shift with his linemates Dewar and Sierhuis.  The Buckeyes thought they had gone up 3-1 but what appeared to be a goal was called back by the officiating crew.  The Eagles would strike back on a great individual effort.  A shot block in the SJR zone lead to a breakaway and a nice finish against Buckeye starting goalie Manny Minuk.  After that the teams traded chances but nothing could be solved in regulation.  The Buckeyes did well to kill off a 4:00 minute head check call that spilled into most of the OT, including a great effort by Liam Eori to waste about 30 seconds ragging the puck in the SJR zone.  In the shootout Neilson, Namaka, and Eori could not solve Eagles goalie Teo Nocita.  Meanwhile, after stoning the first two shooters, Minuk was beated by SJR sniper Jonas Steiner on the third shot to end the game.  The Buckeyes take a point on the road and move on to the home opener vs. JH Bruns on Wednesday.

Preseason Review

This season there were thirty players vying for a position on the roster.  With ten returning veterans there was great competition for the remaining nine spots.  The team played seven exhibition games, finishing with a record of 3-4 in which the coaches got a good look at what all the hopefuls could do.  Often the games were pretty sloppy as coaches on both sides experiment with different line combinations and no real systems are in place.  That being said, the Buckeyes ended off the preseason with a gem against rival River East.  In a game that featured complete rosters on both sides, Miles Mac hung with an early season favourite in the Platinum Promotions A Division.  Down 2-0 going into the third the Buckeyes took it to the Kodiaks in the third, tying the game on a short handed goal by Treye Namaka with four minutes remaining.  Namaka would finish off the game and a three point night with the winner in OT, giving the team a 3-2 triumph and a lot of confidence headed into the regular season.  The Buckeyes will be back in the Winnipeg Free Press B Division looking to win their third championship and build for another foray into the A division next season.  It all starts Friday Oct. 12 at SJR.

Exhibition Results

Sept. 14   – Miles Mac  3       Vincent Massey 8

Sept. 19 – Miles Mac 2           West Kildonan 7

Sept. 20 – Miles Mac 6           Transcona 2

Sept. 26 – Miles Mac 2          Springfield 4

Sept. 27 – Miles Mac 5          Kildonan East 3

Oct. 1 – Miles Mac 3              West Kildonan 4

Oct. 2 – Miles Mac 3              River East 2   OT

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