Coach’s Corner

Wayne Strachan

This past week saw our first deadline day of Dec. 1 come into play. This is when we have to cut done from 45 cards to 25.
It saw us make six deals in which we traded for five players and two future considerations. The following deals took place:
•Melville Millionaires–traded us the playing rights of forward Jordan Johnson (’91) for future considerations.
Jordan is still unsure if he is going to report.
•Winkler Flyers–traded us the playing rights of defenceman Mitch Lutz (’90) for future considerations.
Unfortunately, Mitch was claimed off waivers by another team in the MJHL.
•Sioux Lookout Flyers–traded us future considerations for the playing rights of forward Dwight Lee (’90).
•Blind River Beavers–traded us the playing rights of forwards Justin Erhart (’90) and Cody Edwards (’90) for future considerations.
Justin and Cody both have played our last two games. Justin is a 6’1,” 190-pound forward with skill and strong skating ability. He was brought in to be a top six forward and log a lot of ice to contribute to the team.
Cody is a 5’8,” 160-pound forward who is very fast and a “digger.” He has an offensive upside and will get the opportunity to log a lot of ice time with the Lakers.
He also is a very good penalty-killer.
•Campbellton Tigers–traded us future considerations for the playing rights of forward Jake Ransom (’90).
Jake has decide not to report and instead will be returning to his team of last season, the Minnesota Owls.
•Trenton Golden Hawks–attempted to trade us the playing rights of defenceman Felix Gilbert (’90) to finalize a previous deal made with them in the summer for the rights of defenceman Rod Bouchard (’90).
Felix will not be reporting as he has chosen to go to school so Trenton still will owe us a player to finalize the trade.
We also released the playing rights of forward Anders Wick (’89).
It was a very hard decision to make in releasing Anders. He was a great kid who put a lot of hard work into playing here for the Lakers.
He was a good team guy and we wish him the best of luck in the future.
In the end, we made the decision to release Anders due to his age and our team going in the direction of building for the future.
We now have three cards open until the Jan. 10 trade deadline, and will look for further help that will help us in the next few years to come.
We also were busy this week on the ice with two games. Last Thursday, we travelled up to Sioux Lookout to play the Flyers and lost 5-3.
After the first period, the team came on strong and until the five-minute mark of the third, we outplayed and outworked the Flyers—and it looked as if the game was ours to take.
But we took a penalty which the Flyers capitalized on. Then we had a one-minute breakdown in which we made bad defensive decisions and they scored two more goals in this span.
After that, it was hard for us to get back in the game.
The following night we were right back in the action in Dryden against the Ice Dogs. Once again, we were in tough with an 8-2 loss.
For the first two periods (in which the score was 5-2), we played with the Ice Dogs, having many opportunities offensively to capitalize. However, their newly-acquired goalie, Josh Baker, turned away most of our chances.
In the third, we were outmatched and again defensive breakdowns cost us dearly.
Our inexperience has gotten the best of us for most of the season so far. However, we need to keep working hard to grow further as a team, and start taking pride in our game and being accountable for our play and mistakes.
We knew with the young players we wanted to find and bring in for the future of the Lakers’ franchise that this season would be trying at times and it would be tough to compete against some of the teams that returned veteran lineups.
Still, we have a goal to finish third in the league. We have a ways to get to this point, but with the personnel we have in the dressing room and a lot of hard work, we can achieve this as a team.