It took two periods for the Leaside Lancers to “wake up” against a gritty North Toronto Jan. 19 in South Region boys hockey.
Lancers head coach Peter Shier was disappointed with the 4-4 tie, attributing the results to a breakdown of work ethic.
“I don’t think the first two periods were indicative of how we played,” he said. “We weren’t ready to play at the beginning.”
In the first, Leaside forward Kevin Shier pelted Norsemen goaltender Jake Danson with several shots, only to be turned away.
But the first marker came from North Toronto’s Dina Laurenau, who scored unassisted on Leaside’s Jared Allen.
Over a minute later, Kevin Shier finally found a chink in Danson’s armor notching a goal after a mad scramble in the crease.
First period action proved fruitful as both teams would notch additional goals. Leaside’s Jordan Wright deflected a point shot from Michael Kanopoulos who was fed from Michael Lansdowne, and North Toronto’s Jarrett Wilkinson flicked a loose puck towards Allen for a 2-all tie. Keenan Crawford and Laurenau assisted on the Norsemen’s mark.
The strong, hard-hitting play of the Norsemen impressed their head coach Brit Selby.
“All in all it was a good game for us. We tied one of the best teams in the league,” he said.
The good game was apparent in the second period, as the Norsemen penetrated Leaside’s net two more times with Alex Pesner marking both: one at even strength and the other on the power play.
However, the third period was the opposite for North Toronto as their sea legs seemed to come out from underneath them.
A second goal by Lancers forward Shier assisted by Aaron Thow — who also scored the tying notch — showed North Toronto was tiring.
“If we get running around in our own end we’re in trouble because when we get the puck we’re out of gas and we don’t do anything with it,” Selby said.
Still, Laurenau’s great play, with three points and great tending by Danson, was what maintained the tie.
The posts were in our favour. He played exceptional,” Selby said of Danson. “Sometimes when you see a goalie they just aren’t reacting to the flow of the game, but Jake could see the puck well.
“He was like a batter facing a good pitcher. Some days you can see the ball and others you can’t.”
With the tie, North Toronto sits at a 2-3-3 record and has a chance to make the next round.
Leaside moves to 4-1-1 and sits two points above their midtown rivals.
But the playoffs are not a major concern for Shier, as he is just looking to make sure the team works as one and avoids the individual play.
“I don’t really care about that,” he said. I’m just looking to play well.
“Hockey is still a team game. One guy can’t beat five. You’ve got to have everyone contributing.”
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