Hawks seniors shine during special weekend

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SHERIDAN — Sam Boyles couldn’t have scripted a better way for his high school career to come to a close. Well, as far as the regular-season is concerned.

With senior-night festivities having taken place Saturday evening, Boyles netted a goal as time expired Sunday at Whitney Rink at the M&M’s Center in the Sheridan Hawks’ 6-1 victory over Riverton — the final game of the regular season.

“I don’t think there’s any better way to end [his career] as far as the regular season goes,” Sheridan head coach Kirk Viren said.

Boyles’ special weekend featured a couple other goals, one more on Sunday and the opening goal Saturday in the Hawks’ 7-2 win over the River Rats. Sheridan finished the regular season with a 10-9-1 record, and now the Hawks will turn their focus to hosting the state tournament in a couple weeks.

“We are excited for these next weeks to come. We are ready,” Boyles said. “We have a lot of work to do before that, though.”

Four other seniors joined Boyles in the senior-night showcase Saturday. Justin Bailey, Tristen Cox, Gunnar Swanson and Walker Billings all played their final regular-season contests at Whitney Rink.

And all of them got a fitting send-off.

Bailey scored a second-period power play goal that gave the Hawks a 4-1 advantage Saturday. Billings, on a power play during the third period, made the score 6-2 in favor of Sheridan, and Swanson put the finishing touches on the win with a goal with just under five minutes to play in the game.

Billings vaulted Sheridan ahead 2-0 with a goal midway through the first period Sunday, and Tristen Cox followed in his fellow senior’s footsteps with a power play goal of his own that capped a three-goal first period.

“Your seniors every year, they’re your leaders,” Viren said. “They’re the guys you lean on as a coach. The players, they’ve been through the battles, in the trenches. They kind of know the ins and outs of the season. They know when to focus in and put in hard work and what it takes to get anywhere in this sport.”

Jack Chase helped make it a memorable week with back-to-back goals during the first period Saturday, while Toby Jacobs tallied a trio of goals, one Saturday and a pair Sunday.

The Hawks peppered Riverton goalie Carsten Werbelow with 74 pucks Saturday night, and fired 49 shots on goal Sunday. Meanwhile, Sheridan goalie Josh Eaton turned away 24 of 26 shots attempts Saturday and 20 of 21 Sunday.

“This weekend was good for the players to get a little confidence and seeing the hard work they’re putting in is playing off,” Viren said. “Their mission is to go out and outwork the other team first and foremost, and they were connecting on a lot of nice plays out there.”

The sweep of Riverton came on the back end of Sheridan getting swept by Gillette. The Wild downed the Hawks 8-2 Friday night in Gillette and 10-0 Saturday morning in Sheridan.

Jacobs gave Sheridan the early 1-0 lead Friday, and Boyles’ second-period goal made it a 4-2 game.

Sheridan doesn’t yet know its first-round opponent for the state tournament, which will get underway Feb. 23.

Final (Saturday)

Riverton…..0 2 0 — 2

Sheridan….3 2 2 — 7

First
period_1,
Sheridan,
Sam
Boyles,
2,
Sheridan,
Jack
Chase,
3,
Sheridan,
Chase

Second
period_1,
Riverton,
Quentin
Jacobs,
4,
Sheridan,
Justin
Bailey,
5,
Sheridan,
Toby
Jacobs,
2,
Riverton,
Sam
Shepardson

Third
period_6,
Sheridan,
Walker
Billings,
7,
Sheridan,
Gunnar
Swanson

Final (Sunday)

Riverton…..0 0 1 — 1

Sheridan….3 1 2 — 6

First
period_1,
Sheridan,
Toby
Jacobs,
2,
Sheridan,
Walker
Billings,
3,
Sheridan,
Tristen
Cox

Second
period_4,
Sheridan,
Jacobs

Third
period_1,
Riverton,
Adrian
Curtin,
5,
Sheridan,
Sam
Boyles,
6,
Sheridan,
Boyles

By |February 12th, 2018|

About the Author:

Bud Denega joined The Sheridan Press in November 2017 as the primary sports reporter. He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Wyoming. Prior to working in Sheridan, Bud spent time as a sports reporter for the Minot Daily News in Minot, North Dakota, before being a sports reporter for the Laredo Morning Times in Laredo, Texas. Email Bud at: bud.denega@thesheridanpress.com

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