The Athens Aeros wrapped up a busy month of Eastern Ontario Junior B Hockey action with a 6-4 loss to the Brockville Tikis at home on Sunday night (Nov. 30). After playing just ten games in the first month and a half of the season, the Aeros played eleven times in November. The Aeros entered November on a three game winning streak and sat in fourth in the Rideau Division.
November got off to a really rocky start for the Aeros as they lost four straight games by one goal. The Aeros opened the month with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Akwesasne Wolves. After giving up a late third period goal that tied the game and eventually falling in a shootout the Aeros had a quick turnaround as they hosted the top team in the Rideau-St. Lawrence Conference the Casselman Vikings the very next night. The Aeros appeared destined to collect a point on back-to-back nights before a Vikings goal with under a minute to play sunk the Aeros and sent them to their second straight one goal loss, 4-3.
The following weekend proved to be no easier for the Aeros as they played three games in three days. In their first game of the weekend the Aeros traveled to Alexandria to face the Glens. The Aeros entered the third period of the game tied at three. An early Glens goal gave Alexandria a 4-3 lead. The Aeros responded by scoring two goals in just over a minute to take their first lead of the game 5-4. The Glens would not quit and were rewarded with two goals of their own in under three minutes to regain the lead 6-5. The Aeros were unable to tie the game late and lost their third straight one goal game.
The Aeros again had the benefit of a quick turnaround traveling down the 401 to Prescott to visit the Flyers. The Aeros lead 3-2 heading into the third period, before a goal at the midway mark of the period tied the game for the Flyers. A Flyers shootout goal and three straight misses by the Aeros capped off a come-from-behind 4-3 shootout win for the Flyers, sending the Aeros to their fourth straight one goal loss.
The Aeros returned home to the comfort of the own rink to host the Westport Rideaus the following evening. The Aeros found themselves down 2-0 early in the second period before responding with a pair of second period goals to tie the game at two heading into the third period. The third period didn’t go according to plan for the Aeros as they gave up four unanswered goals (two in an empty net) to drop a 6-2 decision to the Rideaus. The loss was the Aeros’ fifth in a row.
The Aeros continued their rough month losing four of their final six games to Brockville twice (3-1 and 6-4), Westport (4-3) and Prescott (4-0). The Aeros managed wins over Gananoque (5-2) and Morrisburg (5-3).
At the conclusion of the month the Aeros finished with a record of two wins, seven losses and two shootout losses falling from fourth to fifth in the Rideau Division. Despite the tough month Aeros coach Jason Hawkins remains confident in his team “We’re on our way now, we had a good game against Morrisburg, we had a decent start to this game (Nov. 30 against Brockville),” he said before pointing out where his team needs to improve, “Just more about players being patient with our systems and not giving up odd man rushes. I think that’s what’s been killing us lately is too many odd man rushes against and being out worked too many times and I think it comes down to guys, we need to win our battles and be a little more disciplined within our systems.”
The players weren’t the only ones busy this month as the Aeros management made six separate trades. The first deal came mid-month as the Aeros traded defenseman Alex MacLean to the Cassleman Vikings in exchange for defenseman Matt Soubliere. The Aeros continued making trades sending Kyle Hall to the Perth Blue Wings, Devon Degray to the Prescott Flyers and Brian Ridgley to the Ottawa West Golden Knights. The Aeros next acquired Joel Ferland from the Napanee Raiders before finishing their busy month trading forward and fifth leading scorer Greg Heika and Cory Morrell to Brockville for forward Parker Grant. Hawkins liked the changes the trades made to his roster stating, “On our back end we’re a little bit too offensive and we need some more stay-at-home guys, so Soubliere definitely brings that to the table for us and then acquiring Parker Grant for the Heika deal gives us some size and a little bit more grit then what we had before.”
The Aeros return to the ice with back-to-back games in Gananoque (4:15pm) and at home to Winchester (7:30 pm) December 6th and 7th.
Rideau Division Standings (as of Nov 30)
Team Games Played Wins Points
Prescott Flyers 23 17 35
Brockville Tikis 24 10 23
Westport Rideaus 24 11 23
Gananoque Islanders 22 10 21
Athens Aeros 21 8 18
Top 5 Scorers (as of Nov. 30)
Player Games Played Goals Assists Points
Drew Powell 21 8 17 25
J.P. Augustine 21 12 11 23
Nathan Foster 13 10 9 19
Emerson Moulton 21 10 7 17
Ty Hannaford 21 9 2 11