SHERIDAN — The Sheridan NA3HL Hawks swept the Butte Cobras at home Friday and Saturday. The Hawks won both games 8-2.
With other action around the league and the win Friday, the Hawks qualified for the playoffs and are tied for first place in the Frontier Division with the Bozeman Icedogs.
Head coach Andy Scheib said the team cannot look back and drop down in the standings.
The Hawks were as low as fifth place at the start of the season and has slowly climbed their way up the standings. The Hawks spent most of November and December in third place until the NA3HL Showcase when they moved into a share of second place and one point behind first place.
If the Hawks can maintain their position, they can earn home ice advantage for the playoffs. Jonathan Teasdale said it is an amazing feeling for the team to be in the top spot of the division. The Hawks have played an extra game compared to everyone else so far this season, leaving thin margin of error for the team entering the final stretch of hockey. The team needs to continue to battle hard for the rest of the season.
The Hawks will face Bozeman and second place Great Falls Americans twice this season. The Hawks host Great Falls Feb. 7-8 and concludes the season on the road at Bozeman Feb. 28-29. Great Falls is one point out of first.
The Hawks cannot afford to lose to a game for the rest of the season and need to make sure they come out ready to play. Scheib said the team needs to be at a high competitive level when they face teams lower in the standings. It can be hard to come out with the same intensity every game.
Against Butte Jan. 10-11, the Hawks did not always play their best hockey. Scheib said he was not always happy with the way his team played but he was happy to earn four points during the weekend. The Hawks also welcomed two new players to the ice: Gavin Miller and Briar Sylvester.
Scheib said it will be a learning process for the new players who have to get used to a new team and a new system. The Hawks have been a tight-knit group of players all year with strong chemistry on and off the ice. Scheib does not foresee any issues with the players assimilating themselves into the locker room. The Hawks will continue to be a tight-knit group.
Following Saturday’s game, Miller said there is some chemistry on the ice he needs to work on with the Hawks. This can be developed in the next week of practice.
During the game Saturday, Teasdale said there were moments the team could have worked harder but they still earned the win.
The Hawks got off to a slow start during Saturday’s game, Miller said.
The team ended up striking first with a goal from Peyton Kesslhon. Butte scored on a breakaway goal but the Hawks netted two more goals before the period ended.
Scoring for the Hawks was Logan Syrup and Kolton Wright.
Stepan Ruta scored in the second period, followed by Wright. Miller scored first in the third period and Butte followed with a goal of their own. Blake Billings and Teasdale scored in the third period to give the Hawks eight goals. Luke Fundator was in the goal both nights for the Hawks and had 10 saves on Saturday and 19 saves Friday.
Scoring for the Hawks on Friday was Billings, Teasdale, Kamden Sengheiser and Trevor Timm in the first period. Ruta had the Hawks’ only goal in the second period. Steven Delikat, Wright and Sengheiser scored in the third period.
Teasdale assisted on five goals during Friday’s game.
Sheridan travels to the Gillette Wild Jan. 17 and hosts Jan. 18.