This Week’s Warriors – preseason games vs. Red Lake
Austen Hoey - Special to The Bulletin
The boys got their first taste of real action this past weekend, as we welcomed the Red Lake Rams to the Sioux Lookout Memorial Arena on November 2nd for a two game preseason set. The Rams had previously played two other games versus Thomas Aquinas and Beaver Brae, and they looked to fine tune things, while we were still looking to set the final few players on our opening night roster.
The Rams brought the heat in Game one, as their more experienced line-up was able to outgun our younger more inexperienced squad, 6-1. Our coaching staff felt it was imperative, even against a tough team like the Rams, to best use this series as a way to gauge what we had in terms of depth in our roster. We were fairly confident with the bulk of our club, players like Keenan Fontaine, Colin Davis, and Ben Lavoie didn’t need to prove anything to us, and we wanted to give younger players a chance to shine. First year players like, Zach Lance, Henry Davis, and Connor Duguay were given a lot of ice and a lot of opportunities to make plays in the first half of the preseason back to back, and for the most part, we saw a lot of good.
We felt, as coaches, that you can give these younger players as much practice as you want, but you really need to get them into games, have them touch the puck, make plays, to truly accelerate their development. And for those younger players, who maybe won’t play a ton this season, it’s important they get the reps in, because those are the players who will become fixtures in the coming years. Were there growing pains in that first game, yes, but that’s all part of the process towards building up a tradition of continued success for Sioux North.
The second game saw us play almost our entire forward starting line-up, our defense was a little on the inexperienced end, but again, giving younger players a chance to play with guys like Ben Lavoie and Colin Davis is only going to help them. Game two saw us do a lot of the things that we as a coaching staff would like to see this season, quick feet, pucks on net, active sticks, and pressuring defenseman. A small lapse in the second period allowed Red Lake to even up the game at its conclusive score of 3-3, but we liked what we saw. Brandon Masakayash proved himself to be the dynamic player we thought he was in training camp; controlling the play and making linemates Jabez Kakepetum and Liam Goodfellow better every time they stepped on the ice.
This first test was much needed before our season opener in Red Lake on the 10th at 5 p.m. A few crucial decisions are yet to be made in terms of the last couple roster spots. Our forward core, and goaltending situation seem to be concrete but a few defensemen are still trying to reserve their seat on the bus to Cochenour this Sunday.
Thank you again, to David and the entire Red Lake Rams organization for coming to Sioux through some tough weather on Saturday, and thank you for the games. Good luck this season.