This past weekend our hockey club successfully completed its regular season portion of our schedule, by competing in two outstanding games vs. of our arch rivals London & Waterloo respectively. After splitting these 2 playoff style games (details below) the team earned a very respectable record of 19-9-4.
This outcome sees our team finish in 2nd place with 40 points; only 2 shy of Waterloo in the tight East Division of the Alliance. Our hockey club did finish with the lowest GA (Goals Allowed) in the entire league (both divisions) allowing 47 Goals during our 32 game schedule. This excellent“team” accomplishment was earned by each of our players by committing themselves to both ends of the rink on aconsistent basis; while providing the work ethic needed to obtain such a team reward.
The HPL Major Pee Wee’s finished their Regular Season and Tournament play with an excellent record of 41-18-4. The team will now prepare themselves over the course of the next 2 weeks (first round bye) for their upcoming playoff opponent.
Playoff Style Game vs. London –
The team traveled to London Saturday night to face the defending Alliance Champions on their home ice; in hopes of sending a pre- playoff message to the Jr. Knights. Message sent – Message Received! The Lakers came out flying; pushing the pace of the game and dictating most of the early action. Strong play in all 3 zones of the rink provided the Lakers with confidence; and although the game was 0-0 after the first period; the sense and feeling was; it was our period. As London got their legs in the second, HPL continued their strong play...it was back and forth; shift after shift. Then, on the PP mid way through the second the Lakers broke the ice with a sharp looking play resulting in Carter (CC) Collinson ripping home a cross ice pass from Tanner (Hertz) Hertel, also assisted by Ben Derrough…1-0 Lakers. Each goalie (Brock Baier for our Lakers) continued to be called upon to make some big saves as the game stayed close. Unfortunately late in the second period with only 24 seconds left and off the rush London tied the game 1-1; but this not without dispute; as many close to the play confirmed it was not in – nonetheless, 1-1 after 2 periods. As this entertaining game continued in the 3rd period; each team had their opportunities to take the lead and then on the PP and after HPL’sstrong PK had killed off a 4 minute power play; the Knights scored the eventual game winner with a nifty deflection. Although the game resulted in a 2-1 defeat, this was a victory for our team in many ways. The entire team played strongand confident vs. the defending champions. They were commended for their excellent play.
Lakers Defeat Rival Waterloo
With a late game Saturday, and a 2pm start Sunday, it was a quick turnaround for the team as we entered into this important battle with the Wolves from Waterloo. This represented the 3rd match in our past 6 games against the Black and Gold; with today’s winner winning the mini 2 out of 3 series if you will. The team’s goal was clear and simple; play with the same intensity and effort you had the night before against London; while getting more pucks and bodies to the net more consistently. As well, with a win, it would clinch a first round bye – and an opportunity to prepare ourselves for our first playoff opponent.
The Lakers didn’t come out with the same level of compete as they did a game previous; however with some strong goaltending early on by Baily Paquette the team was only down 1-0 at the end of the first period. With a good talk in between periods, providing confidence to the group they can do this – along with some good “team chatter” on the bench pushing themselves to get the compete level they can play at, by the early part of the second period the Lakers took over. Strong puck movement and pushing the pace of the game in their favor; the boys tied it up on a beauty play starting with a chip out of their zone by Rhys Vollmer….Will Thibeault and Noah Kuno were the recipients for this chip; which resulted in them having; and capitalizing on a dandy 2-1 play that sees Thibeault bang in a give and go play from Kuno…1-1. Shortly after an excellent save by Paquette on a Waterloo 2-1; the Lakers again took advantage of a 2-1 opportunity; this time Kuno was joined by Tanner Johnson….and the game was 2-1 Lakers after the dual combined to see Kuno pot the eventual GWG. Waterloo’s frustration of being outplayed by our Lakers began to pay dividends, as the the Lakers enjoyed PP time; and eventually capitalized with Blair Butchart pouncing on a loose puck in front of the Waterloo net; assists going to Ashton Stockie and Evan Moorehead….game over, 3-1 Lakers…..an excellent weekend capped off with a team win.
Jason Baier - Head Coach