The West Nipissing Lynx ended a 10-game losing streak on Friday night, Feb. 11, with a convincing 5-1 victory over the South Muskoka Shield.
It was West Nipissing’s first win in 77 days, after the provincial shutdown forced the Greater Metro Jr. A Hockey League (GMHL) to pause their games for the entire month of January. The extra long holiday break was difficult on players, but it did allow for this banged up Lynx squad to get some extra rest.
“It’s really tough,” said Chase Kanasawe. “You can’t really do much, you’re just sitting around and all you think about is playing the game. But it’s good for our team anyways because before that happened, we had a lot of injuries and a lot of people gone. So that break sort of helped us, it feels good to have everyone finally back and healthy.”
With forwards like Austin Holmes and Derek Seguin back in the lineup, the Lynx had their best offensive output in months, heaving 50 shots on net and potting three goals on the powerplay. The win was especially sweet with head coach Jeff Mancini noting that their 7-3 loss to South Muskoka back on Nov. 20 was what started the team’s downward spiral, a stretch where they lost 16 of 18 games.
“This is a really good tight-knit group and they deserve this,” he said. “We’ve worked hard, we haven’t really had a full lineup for a long time now, it was nice to get a lot of pieces in place. We got stung by the injury bug in these last couple games too, but everyone was just healthy enough and any win, we’ll take it for sure.”
Liam Thor opened the scoring for the Lynx. Then James Taylor tipped a point shot past Jacob DeMoranville to give West Nipissing a 2-0 lead. It was both players’ first goal of the season and that gave the Lynx bench a big lift.
“They were both on a bit of a slump and then both of them popped one in tonight and we just fed off that energy,” said Kanasawe. “That just felt so good to finally see them score.”
South Muskoka got one back before the first period ended but the Lynx were able to halt their momentum in the second. Kanasawe scored on a 5-on-3 opportunity, as did Hunter Chiblow, in a chippy affair that saw both teams rack up over 50 minutes in penalties. Mancini pointed to continuity as the reason for the Lynx success that night.