The Minor Atoms started the year out strong with four points from a three game weekend January 5 and 6th. The Lakers travelled to Sarnia to face the Jr. Sting and skated well for a 5-2 win.
Chayse Herrfort (Palmerston) opened the scoring with a beautiful backhand on a great pass from his linemates Justin McCarter (South Huron) and Cole McKee (Wingham). During the second period, McCarter scored on a play from Herrfort and later Nick Jung (Elma Logan) scored a power play goal on a play from Neve Van Pelt (Mitchell) and Brent West (Shallow Lake). The Jr. Sting didn’t give up and came back with two goals this period, ending the second with Lakers up by one.
Kyle Jones added to the board in the third with another power play goal from Dominic Burbine (Goderich) and Ryley Cribbin (Palmerston). Herrfort once again added to the total on a beautiful give and go play from McKee.
The Lakers demonstrated strong passing throughout this game with scoring coming from all three lines. The team was able to score early and take control of the game. The Lakers played great hockey and stayed out of the penalty box.
On Sunday the Minor Atoms had two home games, first facing the Sun County Panthers. The Lakers once again controlled the flow of this game as Cribbin opened scoring for the game on a beautiful shorthanded goal from McCarter. Herrfort added to the score this period on a goal from Jon Baker (South Huron) and McKee.
The Lakers continued to play a strong game with great passing amongst the forward lines and excellent puck movement by the defence. The Panthers opened the scoring during the second period but the Lakers came back with three more goals; Herrfort on a beautiful passing play from McKee and McCarter scoring twice from Herrfort and Jacob Hrudka (South Huron) both times. Brandon Bean (Goderich) played a solid game in net for the Lakers
The third period saw more Lakers scoring from Jung on a pass from West. The Panthers rallied for three more goals this period, but the Lakers kept control playing well until the end, with an empty net goal by Herrfort. Final score: Lakers 7, Panthers 4.
Hours later, the Lakers laced up against the Hamilton Reps, and took an early lead with goals from Burbine from Herrfort and Jung as well as one by Jung from Herrfort and Keenan Conlon (Goderich). West demonstrated excellent penalty killing during the second and Wyatt Nicholson (Mitchell) was strong between the pipes.
The Lakers led 2-0 going into the third, however playing their second game within hours took its toll and despite a great effort, the Reps found the Lakers net three times this period. Final score: Hamilton Reps 3, Lakers 2.