After losing eight of their last nine games, the West Nipissing Lynx signed three forwards last week in hopes of bolstering their banged-up roster before the holiday break.
General manager Pat Miron says the team has been dealing with some key injuries during their latest slide. Leading scorer Austin Holmes, defenseman Justin MacDonald and number-one goalie Cory Richardson are all sidelined at the moment, unlikely to play until after the holidays. Throw in a few suspensions and it’s been a while since the team has played at anything close to full-strength.
“The last two weeks we really focused on discipline and it really showed on the score sheet with a lot less penalties,” says Miron. “We’re the kind of team that can’t afford to have top guys sitting out with suspensions every game… I think the guys are slowly starting to realize that. Just going forward, it’s about trying to have everybody in the lineup. If we have our best 19 guys dressed, we can compete with pretty much the entire division.”
The Lynx ended a six-game skid, by splitting a home-and-home with the Bancroft Rockhounds on Nov. 26-27. West Nipissing fell 6-0 at home on the Friday, but rebounded to win in overtime the following night. Defenseman River Gull scored the winner in overtime of a 4-3 thriller.
The following week, West Nipissing added three more forwards to the mix. The Lynx announced the signing of Derek Seguin on Dec. 3. Seguin had played the last four seasons in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League for the Timmins Rock. He finished his NOJHL career with 209 points in 182 games. West Nipissing also added a pair of 2002-born players in Liam Thor and James Taylor on Dec. 1.
Though the Lynx lost twice more the following weekend, 6-1 in Temiscaming and 5-1 to New Tecumseth at home, Miron says their effort in Saturday’s loss was better than previous games. He’s hopeful that some fresh blood can turn around the team’s morale, after it dipped pretty low during this losing stretch.
“Saturday when Seguin was in the dressing room, it felt like the guys had life again,” says Miron. “Sometimes that’s all you need is that one good player to come in and say ‘Ok, I got this. Play your game and I’ll worry about putting the puck in the net.’”
More reinforcements could be coming soon too, as Miron is working to bring in help on defense as well. A signing could be announced in the coming days. And even if that falls through, Miron can still bring in five more players before January’s deadline, so he’ll be busy in the coming weeks.