It was a rocky season at times for the young Havre Ice Hawks high school hockey team, but finishing as the No. 6 seed in the regular season, the Ice Hawks will look to turn in a solid run at the state tournament.
The round-robin state tournament will run Thursday through Saturday, as the state’s best teams will gather in Bozeman. And joining the Ice Hawks will be No. 1 Helena, No. 2 Missoula, No. 3 Bozeman, No. 4 Billings, No. 5 Great Falls, No. 7 Glasgow, No. 8 Butte/Miles City and No. 9 Whitefish/Glacier.
The Ice Hawks finished the season with an overall record of 7-14-2. And entering the state tournament as the No. 6 seed, it could be a tough road to haul for the Ice Hawks.
Havre will open their state tournament play on Friday, facing Billings at 6:30 a.m. The Ice Hawks will play again at 5:50 p.m. on Friday, as they take on Butte/Miles City. Saturday will bring another game for the Ice Hawks, this time facing top-ranked Helena at 3:50 p.m.
For first-year head coach Scott Gunderson and the rest of the Ice Hawks to earn a win or two, they need to play very well. Havre gave up over six goals a game on average this season, and gave up a total of 145 goals in 23 games, most allowed by any team. The Ice Hawks also scored a total of 71 goals this season, which is sixth best, showing that the defense and the offense both need to have big weekends.
"They need to keep their tempo up and a positive attitude all the way through this and pass the puck around and always pressure the other team," Gunderson said. "Lately I think we've come up pretty good on keeping pressure going and moving the puck and skating hard."
Roxanna Jensen is the loan senior this season, but the Ice Hawks have several talented players to also help lead the way. Brandon Huntington, Caleb McLain, Dane Linquist, Alexander Hanson, Justin Miller, Josh Emge, Nicholas Howell, Megan Cline, Gavin Gunderson, Russell Jensen, Dustin Armstrong, Kyle Konesky, Ned Malone and Jon Stoner also make up the roster. Emge gets the nod in goal, while the Ice Hawk'spoints leaders are quite balanced.
The Ice Hawks are in the Blue Pool, and the top two teams in that pool and in the Red Pool advance to Sunday's championship round.
The state high school hockey tournament will run today through Saturday in Bozeman. Havre will open their state tournament play on Friday, facing Billings at 6:30 a.m.