by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
It is a tale of two vastly different teams within the Windsor Lancers hockey program.
The women’s team continue to search for their first win of the regular season after a pair of losses this past weekend, while the men’s team pushed their record to 6-1-1 and scored 13 goals in two road wins over the RMC Paladins.
The lady Lancers traveled to North Bay to open their weekend competition against the Nipissing Lakers. After 45 minutes of scoreless hockey, the Lancers surrendered the game’s lone goal and fell just short in a 1-0 loss. In their past six games, the Lakers women’s hockey team is 5-0-1 and surrendered a grand total of four goals during that span, including a 1-0 over the Western Mustangs the night before.
The next day at Countryside Arena in Sudbury, Windsor would allow a goal in the opening minute and trailed the host Laurentian Voyageurs 2-0 headed into the third. The Lancers would cut Laurentian’s lead in half when Shawna Lesperance scored just over one minute into the final frame but could not mount the full comeback. The Voyageurs restored their two-goal cushion five minutes later and rounded out the scoring in the final three minutes to ultimately take the contest 4-1, improving their record to 2-4-2-1 for 11 points while Windsor claims to their single point on the year.
Head coach Jim Hunter and his group will have the weekend off as they prepare for two games the following weekend against the York Lions and Guelph Gryphons at South Windsor arena.
Lancer men’s head coach Kevin Hamlin said he was impressed with his team’s ability to win both of their games on the road trip to Kingston. First, a 7-3 decision, which saw goaltender Mike Doan make 30 saves and a 6-2 victory the next evening with Blake Richard making 31 stops.
“Whenever you can win two games on a weekend it’s important and I think it was important to our group,” Hamlin said. “Preparing for RMC is difficult because they come at you with a lot of energy and it is really difficult to plan for that. We weathered the storm when things went sideways through the course of both games and we had good shifts and good momentum grabbers and we were able to turn things the other way rather quickly. The weekend before against UOIT we weren’t able to do that. Things went sideways in that second game and we just waited and waited, before you know it we ran out of time.”
While Hamlin was happy his team was able to fire 13 goals into RMC’s net over the two-game set, he said the team’s play in their defensive zone still needs work.
“I didn’t really think we would be scoring as many goals as we have this year – but I didn’t think we would be allowing as many either,” Hamlin said. “There are still areas of improvement and one of those areas we are constantly working on is the defensive side of the puck and I think we all need to get better there. Even though we only allowed five goals this weekend, our goaltenders have had to come up very large in numerous occasions to keep the scores at three and two, respectively.”
Hamlin added the goal-tending duo of Richard and Doan had met his standards in the Lancer goal crease so far this season but said greater challenges lie ahead for them.
“I think when we get back into our [West] conference play and we start playing against teams we have rivalries with there will be a different tone in each game,” Hamlin said. “We play a more challenging opponent next weekend in Laurentian.”
Hamlin said the three-goal performance from Brennan Feasey in the second game definitely caught his attention and also praised the forward line of Chris Scott, Dylan Seguin and Blake Blondeel, who he described as extraordinary all weekend.
“If [Feasey] is trying to make a case to stay in the lineup, that is the way to do it,” said Hamlin. “These are young kids trying to get as much ice time as possible. We have a lot of veterans in our lineup and it is nice to see first year players step up and contribute like that. I thought the line of Scott, Seguin and Blondeel gave us a lot of energy in both games and created a lot of momentum for us. They were our most valuable line.”
The Lancers head back home for a two-game set against the Laurentian Voyageurs at South Windsor arena.
“Laurentian play a very traditional style game,” Hamlin said. “They are very physical and they play more of a Western conference style of game so we are going to prepare for that. It will be a good segue into playing our conference games the following weekend.”