By Stewart Grant
Komoka 6, St. Marys 4
The Komoka Kings made the most of their opportunities last Friday at the PRC.
While Mason Mantzavrakos opened the scoring midway through the first period to give the Lincolns the early lead, Komoka scored five unanswered goals on just 14 shots before the second period was complete.
The Lincolns continued pushing in the third period, scoring three goals (by Quinton Pepper, Cayse Ton and Thomas McLatchie) on goaltender Nathan Young but it wasn’t enough, as the Kings held on for a 6-4 victory. Final shots on goal were 43-15 in favour of St. Marys. Attendance for the game was 320.
GM Greg Smale spoke with the Independent following the game, and he was asked about the Lincolns’ recent struggles to put the puck in the net despite high shot totals.
“Yes, we outshot and probably carried the majority of the play against Komoka, but at the end of the day we didn’t get the two points and we as a team need to be accountable for that. Right now, our offense seems to be too one-dimensional in the sense that we aren’t passing tape to tape or identifying our options when we are attacking in the offensive zone. We have got away from our puck movement on odd man rushes and forgot what made us such a dangerous team in the first 5 games of the season. I’m confident our coaches have a plan in place to work our players out of this mini offensive slump.”
Even with the loss on Friday, the Lincolns find themselves solidly in the top-three of the Western Conference along with London and Leamington. Smale spoke about the new surroundings that the Lincolns find themselves in within the league standings.
“I’m sure everyone is aware of our tremendous start and the excitement is growing in St. Marys. We as a staff and the players especially need to block out a lot of that background noise and not get cocky or overconfident. Teams will continue to improve throughout the season and we need to do the same. The hot start has not only created a fantastic buzz within our league and community but it has also put a target on our back in the sense that teams will use us as a measuring stick. It’s on us to continue to grow and become better every time we hit the ice. A hot start is great, but at the end of the day it’s not how you start the season; it’s how you finish.
St. Marys 4, Strathroy 2
Heading into Saturday’s game against the Rockets, the Lincolns had managed just one goal on 77 shots against Strathroy goaltender Josh Diamond.
Diamond was again strong in this game, but with the Lincolns firing 49 more shots at the Rockets netminder, the law of averages finally caught up and St. Marys prevailed 4-2. Scoring for the Lincs were Mason Mantzavrakos, Ethan Lamoureux, Cayse Ton and Carter Schoonderwoerd. Earning the win in goal for St. Marys was Kyle Curtin, who turned aside 25 of 27 shots.
Following the game, GM Greg Smale spoke about the importance of going into Strathroy and earning those two points.
“I know the saying ‘must win game’ gets used a lot in the sporting world. After Friday’s loss, Saturdays game in Strathroy where we have not had much success in that arena the last few seasons as well as facing a goalie who has had our number as of late, really was a must win game. If we want to remain a top team in the conference, you have to find a way to prevent 4 and 5 game losing streaks. You go 2 or 3 weeks and not pick up points and you could easily fall from 3rd place to 6th place; that’s how tight it is in the standings.”
This week’s upcoming games
As a result of the Minor Hockey AE tournament this weekend in St. Marys, there will be no Friday night Lincoln game this week. The Lincs travel to London on Wednesday to take on the first-place Nationals (7:00 p.m. start) and then visit St. Thomas on Sunday to play the Stars (7:30 p.m. start). Listen to Spencer Seymour’s broadcast of both games by visiting www.stmarysradio.com.