The West Nipissing Lynx’ losing streak has hit five games after the team came up short on their latest road trip.
The Lynx haven’t felt the joy of victory since beating New Tecumseth in overtime on Nov. 6, but head coach Jeff Mancini says learning to cope with these highs and lows is just part of junior hockey.
“We have a good group of kids in that dressing room and learning with adversity and dealing with the ups and downs of a long season of hockey is something that we’re growing through,” he assures. “The boys all pull for each other, they root for each other and it’s something that we’re getting better at: dealing with adversity… My favourite saying is ‘Boys we have a game in five days.’ We get to get back on the ice and practice in a few days and back on the ice to improve next weekend as well.”
The Lynx secured a point in South River on Friday night, Nov. 19, losing 4-3 in a shootout to the Almaguin Spartans. West Nipissing had one-goal leads after the first and second periods, but couldn’t hold on through the third.
With just over four minutes remaining, the Spartans’ Alex Lorsung tucked the puck in from behind the net, off of goalie Samuel Gendron’s skate, to tie the game.
“In the end, it often comes to which team is going to make the play at the key time,” says Mancini. “There’s a lot of teams in this league that are bunched together, so any given game, any given bounce; one key save, one key pass, one key shot is going to be the difference in these games and we want to make sure that we’re coming out on top in these close situations.”
Both goalies were stellar in the shootout, turning away seven of the first eight shooters. But in the ninth round, Zachary Stabb potted one for Almaguin and Blake Barber wasn’t able to respond, sealing the win for the Spartans.
Hunter Chiblow, Austin Holmes and River Gull scored in the loss, while Gendron stopped 33 of 36 shots.
The following night, West Nipissing fell in Gravenhurst to the South Muskoka Shield 7-3. The Shield raced out to a 3-0 lead, before the Lynx were able to respond with a flurry of three of their own. Chad Lafortune, Caleb Boylan and Holmes each scored within a five-minute span to knot the game up, but it was all South Muskoka after that. The Shield scored the final four goals, three coming on the power play, to salt the game away.