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Making it work with less

Like the Athabasca midget ‘A’ Winterhawks, the bantam ‘AA’ Hawks’ bench has plenty of room for its skaters this season.

Like the Athabasca midget ‘A’ Winterhawks, the bantam ‘AA’ Hawks’ bench has plenty of room for its skaters this season.

The Hawks only have 10 skaters including their goalie registered for the 2010-2011 minor hockey season, which doesn’t leave them enough players to field two full lines of defense and offense.

This means the bantam players are going to be getting a heck of a lot of playing time this winter.

The bantam AA’s started off their preseason against Edson at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex on Oct. 16, with a solid game that ended in heartbreaking fashion.

The Hawks were defeated 4-3 by Edson, but Athabasca looked like it was going to be assured a tie heading into the final 1:30 of the game.

“With about 1:11 left in the game they took a penalty, so we had a face-off in their end of the ice, and it looked to be the perfect situation to round the game out,” explained Calvin Klaczek, head coach of the Hawks.

With nine extra players on their bench, Edson was finally able to take advantage of the Hawks’ short bench.

“We wanted to set up a big shot from the point, but our played rushed it and threw it over to our other defenseman, and we ended up giving them a clear-cut breakaway,” said Klaczek.

Fortunately for the Hawks, their goaltender, Robbie Mason, was there to save the day.

For the time being anyway.

Still tied 3-3 after dodging a huge bullet, the Hawks turned it over again in the Edson end and once again they were given an open path to the net.

This time, Mason wasn’t able to bail out his teammates.

Dylan Dorval of Edson scored with 15 seconds left in the game to break the hearts of the Athabasca team and fans.

Edson’s comeback started with 2:20 left in the third frame, when Austin Marcotte potted a powerplay marker to tie the game up at three.

The lack of skaters finally caught up with the Hawks.

“When you only have so many skaters, it was bound to happen,” answered Klaczek.

Tyler Young tallied twice for Athabasca while Ryan Runcer scored Athabasca’s third goal in the losing effort.

Despite the loss, Klaczek was very happy with the effort his boys showed and is confident they can build off their first game of the year.

“I was very happy with their performance and they skated very well,” he said.

Conditioning and keeping errors to a minimum will be the key to success for this year’s bantam AA’s. “We’re going to be working a lot on our conditioning, and we need to improve on lessening our unforced turnovers,” explained Klaczek.

The Hawks played back-to-back games this past weekend, with a home affair against Hinton on Saturday night and a Sunday afternoon game against Barrhead.

They defeated Hinton on Saturday night 7-4 and put the boots to Barrhead with a 13-0 drumming.

This puts their record at 1-2 for the preseason.

They will play their final game of the preseason this Saturday away from home against Whitecourt.