It’s been a banner season for the Lake Cowichan Midget C Lakers, as the team capped off an impressive year by taking home both the tournament and league banners at last week’s Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association Mid-Island Playoff Championships in Port Alberni.
The Lakers won both games over the weekend, first defeating Cowichan Valley 3 5-1 and then trouncing Oceanside 3 in a lopsided 13-1 contest.
Of the 16 games played this season, the Lakers won 14, tied one and had one loss. That single loss was actually against Oceanside 3, which head coach Mark Rowbottom said may have contributed to the big win on Sunday.
“I think that drove them to want to beat [Oceanside]. And that probably explains the score,” he said. “The kids were passing the puck, moving the puck, controlling the zones, backchecking. Our goalie made big saves when he had to and it was just really good hockey to watch.”
This season was Rowbottom’s first as head coach and he said he couldn’t have asked for a better group of players.
“Because they’ve played together so much, they just gel as a unit. And they’re all good kids. They get along, they’re all friends, which I think helps a lot.”
Rowbottom said since the beginning of the season he made sure his players focused on earning sportsman points each game, which are given to teams that accrue less than 16 penalty minutes.
“I don’t think that’s ever been done by a midget team,” he said.
Rowbottom also noted seven of the players, who are aging out of the midget division, will be leaving on a high note. The last time the Lakers midget team, which is sponsored by Countrywide Village Realty, won the league banner was more than 10 years ago.
“I’m really proud of these kids,” said Rowbottom. “How they played and their demeanour — it was awesome.”