Thunderhawks look to carry improvement into season's second half

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As the Wallaceburg Thunderhawks enter the second half of their season, they only have two wins to their name after playing 22 games and currently sit in last place of the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Stobbs Division.

But the team has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks and management hopes that will carry into the second half of the season.

Darryl Lucio, Thunderhawks’ president of hockey operations, said the first half of the season came in under expectations, but said it can be difficult for a young team to find success.

“I was hoping for a couple more wins here,” he said. “It’s tough being in this league, being such young kids out there, a lot of first year junior hockey players.”

Nine players on the Thunderhawks’ regular roster are 18 or younger. Lucio said a lack of experience – especially with a young defense – can be tough.

“It’s been getting better as the season goes on,” he said. “We’ve been so close in so many games.”


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When asked if the team was looking to make any moves to bring in more experience, Lucio said they’re always looking for any move that will make the team better.

“If something comes along, absolutely we’re going to look at it,” he said. “We’re not making changes just to make changes though.”

The Thunderhawks are currently last in both goals for (1.73 per game) and against (5.18) in their division. After some lopsided losses in the first two months of the season, the team has been able to reel things in during recent weeks. Going into their Nov. 27 game against Wheatley, the Thunderhawks had won or held teams to just a two-goal difference in four out of five games.

“We’re competing better than I’ve seen in Wallaceburg in a number of years,” Lucio said. “It’s definitely getting there it just takes a bit of time unfortunately.”

Credit to the closer games in recent weeks can at least partially go to the mid-November pick-up of league veteran goaltender Nolan Hakr. Hakr has put up a .919 save percentage in his four games with Wallaceburg. Lucio said the pick-up gives the team a solid goalie as they develop their other two rookie goaltenders.

“When you have a chance to pick up a goalie like Nolan Hakr, you definitely have to jump at that.”

Lucio said the games have been good to watch as they’ve been in some close contests, other than when playing some of the league’s top teams. But, home games are only averaging about 150 people in the stands, which Lucio said just isn’t enough.

The team hopes to attract more attendance with some upcoming events, including: a Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 7, a Gold Game to raise awareness for childhood cancer in January and an outdoor game in Windsor later this season.

“Come cheer on our boys, obviously the more people that come out, the more pumped they’re going to get and then they’ll just feed off it.”

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