It’s always tough to lose four straight, but the Hawkesbury Hawks never gave up the fight against the Ottawa Junior Senators in the Barkley Cup finals. Despite the sweep, the series was a lot closer than 4-0 and the Hawks were unfortunate not to steal one of the first three games – two of which went to overtime.

Ottawa earned it, they played great hockey and showed a lot of poise, particularly when the pressure was on late, in what were all very close games. The Junior Senators were the best team all season in the Central Canada Hockey League and they showed it in the playoffs, losing only a single game over three series.

It’s perhaps easy to forget after being swept in the finals that it was a great season for Hawkesbury as well and I’m very proud of the team, players, and coaching staff. The Hawks were considered a longshot to make the playoffs at the start of the season, lost their first three straight and then gradually added the pieces they needed to become one of the best teams in Canada. It was an absolute pleasure to watch such a terrific group of players on the ice this year.

The 2021-2022 Hawks were in my opinion one of Hawkesbury’s greatest teams of all time. Unfortunately there were two great teams in the CCHL this season and only one could win the Barclay Cup.

NHL Playoff predictions Round 2

I went 7-1 in my National Hockey League playoff predictions in the first round, missing only one because I used my heart and picked Toronto to beat Tampa Bay. What I’m most proud of is I predicted all of the series except Colorado and Nashville would go to at least six games, and that is pretty much how it went.

To check out my pre first round picks you can check out my column from the May 4 edition of The Review.

Now on to Round 2 and it’s going to get even tougher this time in the age of NHL parity.

Calgary Flames (50-21-11) vs Edmonton Oilers (49-27-6)
The Flames have better goaltending and home ice advantage. Both teams are happy to get out of the first round, but only one will win the battle of Alberta and that team will be…
Calgary in 6

Florida Panthers (58-18-6) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (51-23-8)
Lots of regional battles this year. I like Florida’s chances with Giroux, Barkov, Huberdeau, Verhaeghe, Ekblad, Weegar – they can score goals. But I’ve been wrong about the Lightning before! Still…
Florida in 7

Carolina Hurricanes (54-20-8) vs New York Rangers (52-24-6)
The Canes can score, have solid goaltending and the wildest home crowd in hockey. But the Rangers aren’t just going to roll over and die.
Carolina in 7

Colorado Avalanche (56-9-7) vs St. Louis Blues (49-22-11)
Colorado has a stacked team, with MacKinnon, Rantanen, Makar, Nishushkin, Burakovsky, Landeskog and more. St. Louis is in tough here.
Colorado in 5