BY BRIAN VOSSEN
While the Locos put in a strong effort, it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Wranglers.
On June 1, the Lacoka Junior Locos hosted the Calgary Wranglers. Although Lacoka put up a good fight, the final score was 17-11 in favour of Calgary.
Assistant Coach Drew Dougherty said they made a fair try in the game.
“It was a solid effort, we were in it for most of the game,” said Dougherty. He went on to say that Lacoka has trouble getting all its players to practices at the same time, making it difficult to work on team systems.
Dougherty also said that was a key factor in Sunday’s game as the Wranglers were able to spot the Locos were using a help defense and adjusted their game accordingly. Lacoka then switched to a man-on-man defense, but weren’t able to adjust as easily as they have not been able to work on the different system in practice.
It was an even match. Both teams played a hard, fast and physical game that was exciting to watch.
Calgary opened up scoring with a quick goal within the first minutes of play. Lacoka, on the other hand, were slow to get started at first, but were well in the game by the end of the period, especially after scoring a power play goal to end the first tied at 5.
In the second, Lacoka opened scoring within the first two minutes and both teams began trading goals back and forth. As the period wore on however, Calgary gained a strong foothold over Lacoka, taking the lead and beginning to slowly widen the score gap.
Lacoka did its best to keep up, but the strong Calgary defense made the strongest Locos scorers work hard for every shot, tiring them out and cutting down on scoring opportunities.
Dougherty said that the Wranglers’ ability to play a stronger defense than the Locos was probably the biggest factor in the game. While there were some defensive holes, Lacoka’s goaltender was quite strong and Dougherty added that goaltender Zac Atsinger probably played his strongest game of the season on Sunday.
Astinger faced 61 shots by the end of the game and made some impressive saves. While he let a few in, each time a goal was scored, he would shake it off and prepare to face the next shot as if nothing had happened.
In the third period, Calgary continued to pull ahead of Lacoka. After fighting tooth and nail against a superior defense for two periods, Lacoka’s offence was worn out and not able to close the gap, losing the game 17-11 at the final buzzer.
While the Locos have been fairly even this season, they have lately been on a bit of a losing streak. In addition to Sunday’s game, the Locos lost 13-12 to the Strathmore Venum and lost another two games the weekend before.
While the team has good chemistry and works well as a unit, the players seldom have the opportunity to practice as one. Dougherty said the key to turning Lacoka’s game around is getting all the players to practice at the same time so they can work on strategies as a team.