Hawks look to build off 5-1-0 December record
EXETER – December was kind to the Exeter Hawks as they pushed through the month earning five wins in six games. Now a new year, the team is looking to have continued success as they inch closer to the postseason.
Prior to playing on Jan. 4, the Hawks were in second place in the Yeck Division with an overall record of 23-6-0-1 in 29 games. Most Yeck Division teams have eight to 10 games remaining on their respective regular season schedules and teams will be using the next few weeks to adjust as they prepare for the playoffs.
When the Times-Advance went to press the Hawks’ Jon Baker led the Yeck Division in points with 48. Close behind Baker in points is fellow Hawks veteran Jonathon Frook who has put up 41 points of his own. Both Baker and Frook have posted career highs in points with their respective season totals so far.
In three seasons prior to 2018-19 Frook had never scored more than 12 goals and 34 points with the Hawks. With 10 games left the 20 year old has already surpassed his junior career highs, and is on pace to score 56 points. In 21 games this season Melady has put up 34 points, just two shy of the career high 36 points he scored with the Hawks in 2015-16.
Rookies faring well
Rookie forward Carter McLlwain has provided plenty of offense for the Hawks in his first year in the PJHL. A product of the London Jr. Knights minor hockey system, McLlwain joined the Hawks after posting over a point per game with the Minor Midget AAA Jr. Knights last season. He suited up in two games with Exeter near the end of the 2017-18 season in which he scored one goal. Now in his first full season with the Hawks McLlwain has been the Yeck Division’s most productive rookie. The 18 year old leads the division in goals with 24, and has 38 points. McLlwain has scored in 80 per cent of the games he’s played this season and is producing 1.26 points-per-game.
Bayfield’s Sam Dupuis has also put up solid numbers in his first season having scored 11 goals and 15 points to date.
Rookie defender Jake Weston was acquired from the St. Marys Lincolns of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey league on Dec. 4 and he has also produced offense. Weston, 17, played parts of three seasons with the Lincolns before joining Exeter last month. In seven games Weston has a goal and 10 points.
HED: Bannon’s return sparks offence
Since returning from working in Alberta, Max Bannon has produced three goals and 15 points in nine games. Bannon’s production is no surprise as he had been among the Hawks’ leaders in goals and points in each of his four seasons with the club. Of Bannon’s 15 points, five have come with the man advantage.
Getting good goaltending
Goaltenders decide the outcome of every game, and the Hawks have been fortunate to have had strong goaltending to this point this season. Starting the season with the tandem of up-and-comer Nathan Young and first year backup Brant Galbraith the team got off on the right foot.
It was in early November that Young had played well enough to move up the junior ranks to play with the Junior B Komoka Kings. That forced Hawks general manager Jeff Dalrymple to acquire another goaltender and he did so picking up Caleb Pinsonneault from the Dorchester Dolphins.
Since joining the Hawks, Pinsonneault has shouldered a lot of the Hawks workload in net. He appeared in 12 games with the team when the Times-Advance went to press and had an overall record of 11-3-0 with Exeter and Dorchester. His 11 wins is good for third in the Yeck Division’s goaltender win leaders behind the Dorchester tandem of Matt Waller and Liam McCarthy who each have 12 wins. Pinsonneault is among division leaders in goals against average (2.61) and in save percentage (.916).
Primarily the backup option, rookie netminder Galbraith has had a good season, too. In 12 games he has eight wins and three losses and has stopped nearly 90 per cent of the shots he’s faced this season with an .896 save percentage. Galbraith also holds a 3.47 goals against average and his eight wins have him tied for seventh in wins in the Yeck Division.
The Hawks will see action next weekend with a Friday night game on Jan. 11 against the North Middlesex Stars at the South Huron Rec Centre. The Dorchester Dolphins will be in Exeter to play the Hawks the following night on Sat., Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.