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Hawks gaining altitude
With a record of 20 wins, five losses and one overtime loss, the Winnipeg Hawks are perched pretty, second only to the undefeated Winnipeg Monarchs in Winnipeg AAA Hockey’s Bantam Division 1 as of Mon., Jan. 27.
Hawks coach John Fehr said the team is playing solid hockey at both ends of the ice.
"Our detail to defensive zone coverage has gotten better over the season. We’re second in goals against," Fehr said.
"We’ve got good goaltending, we’ve got a good defensive zone style and we’ve got a few guys that can put the puck in the net when we need them to. The combination of the three is doing us well."
Hawks goaltenders Logan Thiessen and Dylan Myskiw were both selected for the league’s all-star game on Jan. 11, while forward Cody Glass currently sits third in league scoring, with 21 goals and 36 assists.
Glass, a West Kildonan resident, describes himself as a "pass first kind of guy" and said he has excellent chemistry with linemate Kyle Wiltshire, who has potted 23 goals this season.
"He (Wiltshire) has great speed and a great shot. I just know where he’s going to be at the right time," said Glass, who previously played with Wiltshire on the North West Stars (AA).
Glass said he looks up to NHLers Patrick Kane, "for his hands and the way he moves the puck", and Jonathan Toews, "more of a grinder, but when he shoots he scores".
That being said, Glass said he could stand to add a little bit more Toews to his Kane-like game.
"I could improve on my aggressiveness and my physical side. I’m not really a hitter, more of a fancy player," Glass said.
However, there’s a fine line between being physical and two minutes in the box.
"We need to cut down our penalties," said Fehr, who has coached for AAA hockey for seven seasons, 2013/2014 being his first with the Hawks.
"We’ve got a pretty physical team with a couple guys who lead the league in penalties (Riley Bruce, 139 penalty minutes, Kaden Kotowich, 106 penalty minutes). We need to get those guys to relax a bit."
Still, Fehr said the team plays with a lot of heart, which was evident in a recent tournament in Minneapolis, where the Hawks only lost once, in the gold medal game against Shattuck-Saint Mary’s.
A prep school in Faribault, Minn., Shattuck-St. Mary’s pulls its team from all over North America and has produced NHL players like Toews, Nathan MacKinnon, Zach Parise and Sidney Crosby.
Fehr said the Hawks fared well against what is essentially an all-star team.
"I find they’re a team that just doesn’t give up," Fehr said. "If we’re down a couple goals, they’ll battle right to the last second. They play a full 60 minutes."
The team plays most of its home games at Maples Community Centre.
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