The pee wee Lakers C2 team kicked off the new year in victorious fashion.
Toppling Nanaimo 6-0 in Mid-Island Hockey League action on Jan. 7 and the Cowichan Valley girl’s team at home by a score of 10-5 on Jan. 8, the Lakers looked sharp over the weekend.
Captain Nick Brown was active on the score sheet against Cowichan Valley, scoring five goals for the Lakers in his team’s win.
Lakers head coach Mark Martin was thrilled to enter 2012 on a winning note but said slipping a win past the girl’s team was no easy task.
“They came fighting. They were a feisty bunch, that’s for sure,” he said.
Martin highlighted the fact that his squad was fairly shorthanded in the Jan. 8 contest, entering the game with only eight players on his roster.
He said it took a little creativity to make things work but in the end it panned out with a win in the Lakers’ favor.
“We were a little bit short but we managed to come up with a good effort once again as usual. Our team passed the puck around really well.”
The C2 Lakers were forced to play musical chairs with positions due to the team’s rather sparse bench.
“The players changed from forward to defence back and forth to keep everybody fresh. They were tenacious on the puck so we were moving the puck around pretty good,” added Martin.
Despite winning the game on the scoreboard, Martin said his team was not prepared for the high level of physical play the Cowichan Valley girl’s team would bring to the table.
“It was a good, hard-fought game. They were a bit rougher than we expected,” said Martin of Cowichan Valley’s gritty performance.
Martin’s players got knocked around quite a bit throughout the duration of the game but managed to stay on top.
“The boys were a bit surprised with the amount of body contact they were given from Cowichan Valley but we skated through it all and scored more goals than them.”
Martin noted that Miles Brooks also played a strong sixty minutes in the morning match.
The Lakers bench boss was also impressed by his goaltender Trenton Baslee’s performance between the pipes over the course of the past two games.
“He [Baslee] made some big stops,” described Martin.
And the shots that did make it past Baslee weren’t the easiest to turn away Martin admitted.
“The goals they got were usually on the second or third rebound. There weren’t any soft goals,” said Martin.
Baslee’s agile crease work was also responsible for the Lakers’ 5-0 shutout over Nanaimo a day prior. Nanaimo’s offensive core was defenseless in the wake of Baslee.
Martin’s new year’s resolutions for his team appear to be coming together nicely.
He’s noticed significant improvements in his team’s level of play from where they stood earlier in 2011, especially on the defensive end of things.
“Our defensive core is finally starting to play their positions in their own end. We’re starting to move the puck out a lot easier than at the start where we would get in scrambles.”
Martin stressed that wrapping their minds around their positions has been invaluable to his player’s continued success this season
“We’re all in the right positions now and we can move the puck quick. We don’t play in our end as much as we did at the beginning of the year,” said Martin.
Lakers forward Nathan Bath was also credited with a hat-trick in the game against Nanaimo.
The contest versus Nanaimo was a close-paced affair, with the Lakers barely holding onto a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.
However, the flood gates opened in the second period for Lake Cowichan, as the C2 Lakers capitalized and lit the lamp for four consecutive, unanswered goals.
By the time the third frame had manifested itself, the Lakers had a cobra grip over their Nanaimo counterparts, as the Lake Cowichan pee wee team skated off with a defiant 6-0 victory.