Hawkesbury Hawks blank short-staffed Pembroke Lumber Kings

Pembroke Lumber Kings's forward Cameron Hough battles through a check by the Hawkesbury Hawks's Zachary Lefebvre as he goes for the puck during first period action at the PMC Jan. 5. The Hawks blanked the Kings 4-0. Tina Peplinskie / Pembroke Observer and News

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It was a tough start to the New Year for the Pembroke Lumber Kings as they were blanked 4-0 by the Hawkesbury Hawks at the PMC Jan. 5.

The Kings had a short bench due to suspensions, injuries and the flu, playing with four defenceman for much of the game, especially in the third period when the team was without the services of forward Brady Egan after he was assessed a 10-minute misconduct for a head check.

If not for the stellar play once again by goalie Reece Proulx, the score could have been much higher as the Hawks fired 60 shots at the Kings net with Proulx allowing just three goals and earning second-star honours.

“Reece is one of best (goalies) in league if not the best,” Alex Armstrong, the Kings’s head coach and general manager, said after the game. “I’m disappointed in the kids the way they battled in front of him. There is no excuse for not working hard. It is what is it right now and we will move forward. We’ve got a lot of work to do but we will get better as time moves on.”

The Hawks scored a goal each in the first and second periods and added two in the third, including an empty netter. Providing the offence were Mathieu Sabourin, Kris Pietroniro, Brendan McCarthy and Jeremy Quesnel, with the shorthanded empty netter.

Mathieu Chenier earned the win and the shut out after stopping all 20 shots he faced from the Kings.

Among those players watching the games from the stands were Alex Urbisci and Fletcher Anderson who were serving suspensions and injured players Anthony Urbisci, Jesse Kirkby, Sean Fortier and Ethan Emanuel, who hasn’t played since the opening game of the season. The hope is that Fortier and Emanuel will return to action this week, although Kirkby is still a couple of weeks away from returning.

The goal is also getting those who are suffering from the flu healthy as the Kings have a busy stretch coming up, including four games at home in a week.

With the loss, the Kings sit in fourth place in the Robinson Division with 42 points in 39 games (20W-17L-1OTL-1SOL) and seventh overall in the Central Canada Hockey League, but just six points out of fourth place.

“Our goal was to be .500 at Christmas, we were four games over it and we are in the mix for fourth,” Armstrong said. “We’re not going to let this one get us down and out. We’ve got a big week. We have to get healthy first and foremost and put some wins together.”

The Kings will have a chance to get back to work Jan. 8 when they travel to Ottawa to take on the Junior Senators in the first of six games in 12 days. Pembroke then travels to Navan Jan 10. to take on the Grads before a four-game home stand. On Jan 12 the Kings host Smiths Falls and Rockland Jan 19, with both games at 7 p.m. at the PMC. On Jan 15 Pembroke hosts Carleton Place and Kanata is in town Jan. 17 with both games at 7:30 p.m.

With the Jan. 10 CCHL trade deadline looming, Armstrong is also working one finishing some deals that could see a few new players suiting up for the Kings down the stretch.

Stars of the games: The three stars were Hawkesbury’s Mathieu Sabourin first, Pembroke’s Reece Proulx second and Hawkesbury’s Mathieu Chenier third. The fourth star for hard work went to Pembroke defenceman Blair Battochio.