Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Dustin Cook

BATTLE FOR THE PUCK – The Yukon Rivermen will be back in action this weekend look ing for their first win of the season as they travel to B.C. for a three-game road trip taking on the North Zone Kings and Central Zone Rockets Nov. 10-12.

Rivermen set to tackle first road trip to B.C.

The Yukon Rivermen Bantam Tier 1 boy’s hockey team will be back in action this weekend for their first road trip of the season.

By Whitehorse Star on November 9, 2017

The Yukon Rivermen Bantam Tier 1 boy’s hockey team will be back in action this weekend for their first road trip of the season.

A three-game stint in three consecutive games awaits the team in B.C. from Nov. 11-13.

The Rivermen are still looking for their first win of the season in this inaugural campaign after losing three straight in their home-opening series against the Thompson Jr. Blazers.

In their first of four away trips, the Rivermen will take on the North Zone Kings, based out of Salmon Arm/Vernon, on Friday and Saturday before taking on the Central Zone Rockets in Kelowna.

This will be the first chance for the team to make the trip down that they will have to make frequently throughout the season with all five other teams in the regional zone program this season out of B.C.

The Rivermen are scheduled to play 10 games on the road – two against each team – and then play a three-game series against each team at home, totalling 15 games out of Takhini Arena.

After losing three close hard-fought battles to the Blazers, Lawrie said the team had to work on their compete level and make sure they were working hard throughout the game every shift and that they couldn’t afford to take breaks at this high level.

“I just don’t think we competed the same way,” Lawrie said about the final game against the Blazers, a 6-3 loss on Oct. 29. “When we chose to skate and chose to hit, we matched up very well.”

Another concern for the team is the power play, which struggled immensely against the Blazers including critical points in the game.

The Rivermen had a 5-on-3 power play towards the end of the second game down two goals.

They pulled goaltender Dawson Smith for an extended 6-on-3 advantage but couldn’t beat the Blazers goalie and lost the game 3-1.

The first goal in Rivermen history was scored in this game by alternate captain Landon Marsh in a highlight reel goal from his stomach reaching to lift the puck just over the pad of the Blazers goalie.

Following the series, Lawrie credited his play and leadership on the team.

“He’s a leader for sure,” he said. “He plays in all situations, gets lots of minutes. The kids like him, respect him on and off the ice and I’ve been very impressed with him.”

The only other goal-scorer so far this season for the Rivermen is forward Joey Schultz who had all three in their final loss to Thompson.

“He’s played hard all weekend long,” Lawrie said after his forward’s hat trick performance. “He’s simplified his game.

He’s strong and has a great shot that he started getting off today.”

Moving forward, Lawrie said now that the team has experience playing at this level it is on them to make sure they play the full 60 minutes.

“Now it’s on them. They got to come prepared,” Lawrie said. “A big thing is they got to play 60 full minutes which means every single shift has to be played at the same intensity and that’s a new piece for a lot of these kids.”

He said following the weekend series the team knows they can’t take a rest or a shift off because that could lead to a goal for the other team.

“I think they realize at this level that costs you hockey games,” Lawrie added.

It won’t be long until the Rivermen are back home at Takhini Arena. They will play host to the South Zone Knights based out of Penticton/West Kelowna Dec. 1-3 before travelling down to B.C. again Dec. 16-1 to round out 2017.

Yukon Rivermen

Upcoming Schedule

Fri., November 10

Rivermen @ North Zone Kings, 5:30 p.m.

Sat., November 11

Rivermen @ North Zone Kings, 8 p.m.

Sun., November 12

Rivermen @ Central Zone Rockets, 1 p.m.

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