Leaside’s senior boys hockey squad kept pace with a tough Malvern Black Knights.
It was something that impressed head coach Peter Shier, as his charges battled it out on the ice losing 3-2 at Ted Reeve Arena Nov. 24.
But the Lancers didn’t burst out onto the pond as fast as he would have liked.
“We didn’t get off to a quick start, but you know what, we battled,” he said. “(If) you take away the first five minutes we played well.”
In the first period, Malvern’s Allister Warren took advantage of a Leaside turnover in their zone and flipped the puck past Lancers tender Sean Ryan.
Minutes later, Andrew Hood was left alone in front of Ryan and batted in the Black Knights’ second goal.
Those two notches were enough to rile the energy in the Lancers as they tightened their defence for the remainder of the first.
In the second period the Lancers had a potent offence, with a peppering of solid defence from Owen Cluett and company.
Doug Jean-Marie was able to force a turnover in the neutral zone and shot it past goaltender Matt Barr 16 feet away.
Another opportunity came with a give-and-go break from Robbie Miles and Kevin Shier.
But it wasn’t until a Danny Tallas pass, meant for the front of the net, hit traffic and trickled past Barr to even the score at deuces.
With the new game in the third, both teams were hungry. Miles missed scoring halfway through the period, while Jared Allen — Ryan’s
sub — turned away an in-close Hood.
Coach Shier decided to split the netminding duties between two “strong” walls.
“It’s early in the year, we want to give them both a shot, see how they play,” he said. “They both played well — none of the goals were really their fault.”
It wasn’t until Malvern’s Matt Spanger flipped a drifting puck over the shoulder of Allen at 4:26 in the third that the game had a leader once more.
For those final four minutes, Leaside pushed hard for an equalizer.
“We came on strong, we had the play, we were taking it to them, and they played well,” Shier said. “They kept everything outside.
“If we bury some of our scoring chances inside — I mean (Andy Huckle) missed the one side of an open net — it’d be a different game.”
Shier avoided just naming players as standouts, but said Jean-Marie and Owen Laing led the team throughout the game.
“I was really proud of the way our guys never quit, kept playing hard, didn’t stop and I think we’ve got a pretty good squad.”
The Lancers next varsity match is Dec. 1 against East York Goliaths. Results were not known at press time.
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