Despite a 10-game losing streak to conclude the regular season, the Swift Current Home Hardware Legionnaires will make their first Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League playoff appearance in eight seasons. “Yeah it is something special considering the Legionnaires haven’t done it eight years,” said second-year defenseman Edwin Hookenson. “It is special to be a part of this team. We struggled down the stretch but playoffs is a new season and hopefully we can find our way again.”
It has been a tumultuous season for the Legionnaires, but they overcame a lot of adversity to make the playoffs.
“We tried to focus on positives. There have been a lot of problems through the year, but a lot of good stuff happened too. We have a talented team and we tried to overcome problems and we had a lot of success. We are a close-knit team so that helps to give us a little bit of a boost.”
They will be a heavy underdog in the playoffs against the first-place Prince Albert Mintos, who finished 27 points ahead of them in the standings. The Legionnaires were out-scored 22-6 during four losses to the Mintos in the second half of the season.
“One of the biggest things is staying disciplined because they have an unbelievable powerplay,” said Hookenson. “They just work the puck really well, so staying out of the box is going to be huge for us. They have a really disciplined team and very balanced right to the bottom. We just have to work and take the bounces when we can get them. Garbage goals still count, so that is all that matters I guess.”
The Legionnaires were unable to create any momentum this past weekend as they concluded the regular season with a pair of losses to the visiting Saskatoon Blazers.
Saturday, the Legionnaires let a pair of leads slip through their grasp in a 4-3 loss. Blake Fournier, Austin LaRochelle, and Carter Forsyth all scored in the loss with assists from Tim Vanstone, Daylan Gatzke, Hookenson, and Zac Mackay.
Luke Grassl suffered the loss with 33 saves as the Legionnaires were out-shot 37-26.
Sunday, the Legionnaires got two goals from Lukas Biensch, a goal and an assist from Cody McKinnon, and two assists from Matthew Audette in a 6-3 loss. Forsyth also had an assist. Grassl made 32 saves on 38 shots to finish the season 7-13-1.
Hookenson, who has one year of midget eligibility remaining, tied for the team lead with 24 assists and led the blueline with 27 points after registering only four points as a rookie last season.
“I took on a lot bigger role than I did last year. I had to step up to help the team out and am playing a lot of minutes now compared to last year. Brad [Woods] came in as our [assistant] coach and he has been a huge help on the back end. He has really helped me. Since he came in I have just really started producing a lot more and all those minutes are helping.”
Visit swbooster.com for full playoff coverage.