Some tough but hard-fought games leading up to the holidays didn’t dampen the community spirit of the Huntsville Junior C Otters.
On Dec. 14 and 15, the Otters met Orillia and Penetang respectively.
Huntsville showed structure and discipline on the ice against Orillia, not taking any penalties during game play. Their opponents took the win 3-1.
Against Penetang, “We struggled to get going and to get the energy we normally have,” said coach Marc Gagnon. “We didn’t start playing till the third period and made it interesting but was too late. We have to play 60 minutes every game, making every shift count.”
Following the game against Penetang, the players shook off their 4-2 loss and were ready with an abundance of holiday joy to serve their fans at the team’s annual Code Blue Spaghetti Dinner at the Active Living Centre in support of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. The event raised $691.70.
On Friday, Dec. 20, the Otters played their best game of the season by far against Stayner, who are currently second in the division.
The crowd knew who the Otters were up against and with several of their players out due to injury no one really knew what to expect out on the ice.
“A total team effort from all skaters,” said Gagnon. “I spend a ton of time on team structure and team type mentality, along with discipline, and it really came together Friday.”
That effort resulted in a 5-2 win for the Otters.
“From Tye Miller in net, to our three AP players brought up [Joseph Stewart of North Bay, and from the Midget team Matt Joiner and Ryan Taylor], to our defense and the forwards, it was a complete 60 minutes,” said Gagnon. “It was really nice to see Joiner also score his first Junior goal. We stayed out of the penalty box and played high energy hockey resulting in a win.”
During their Sunday, Dec. 22 game against Schomberg, the Jr C Otters offered spectators the chance to win a signed game-worn team jersey in exchange for a food and/or monetary donation toward The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation. The team did not perform as well as on Friday, falling 8-0 to the Cougars, but the fans still cheered and brought Christmas spirit to the arena, donating a full grocery cart of food and $60 in support of The Table.
In other Otters news, the team has added another player, Kain Harrietha #26 from the Timmins Rock, to their roster. “He’s added skill, speed and is a quiet leader,” said Gagnon. “He’s been a nice addition to the club.”
The Otters’ next home game is Sunday, Dec. 29. The puck drops at 2:30 p.m.
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