2017/18 Minor Midget Record: 26-2-5 (1st Place)
2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Lost in semi-finals to Brantford 99ers in 5 games (2-2 at OHL Cup)
2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 6-22-4 (11th Place)
2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in 1st round to Waterloo Wolves in 5 games
After consecutive appearances in the OHL Cup, the Cambridge Hawks come into the 2018/19 season needing some improvements to see the postseason for a third straight season.
At the Minor Midget level last season, the Hawks were the creme de la creme of the Alliance during the regular season. A balanced offense mixed with strong defense and a solid goaltending duo, Cambridge cruised throughout the year to claim top spot in the league. Led up front by Ben McFarlane and Joseph Serpa, Cambridge struggled in the postseason with head coach Scott Walker missing due to his Olympic commitment. A five game series win over Chatham was followed by a five game series loss to the eventual champion 99ers. A disappointing end to what was a promising season.
The 2003 born group of Hawks had their struggles throughout the year last season. Clamining just 16 points at the end of the year, the Hawks ended up second from the bottom of the standings heading into the playdowns. They didn’t play that way in the opening round and with strong goaltending and timely scoring, they put the eventual champion Waterloo Wolves on the ropes in the opening round before falling in five games.
As we get ready for a new season to begin, the Hawks will be without one of their biggest pieces from a season ago. Forward Nolan Forster, who held his own playing up with the 02’s last year, has moved on outside of the Alliance. The Hawks will be led on offense by returning players Mateo Amaral and Jake McMullen. Cambridge will also return Benjamin Bates in net, who was a key factor in their playdown series against Waterloo.
Hawks will have seven new faces on their roster with one being Maxime Tremblay between the pipes. Tremblay was part of a 99ers club last season that lost only two games Tremblay will bring some big game experience to the Hawks this season which could help Cambridge in big games late in the year. Cambridge has also added Connor Loerzel, who played with the Elgin Chiefs last year, along with a few local players making the jump from the seeded clubs.
When it comes to an overall outlook for the season, I don’t think it is very far fetched to believe that Cambridge could be in the mix for a playdown spot at years end. While not a team chalked full of high end talent, they are a group of hard working players. They will need to find some new players to take the lead on offense, but if they can find those players, the Hawks could be in a position to play some high stakes hockey in February.