Sunday, September 19, 2010

Junker on Lakers Win

It's become a regular thing after home games, and last night was no exception. I chatted with Steve Junker after the 5-0 win last night against Penticton, hear that interview here.

I also tracked down veteran forward Erik Wentzel, hear what he had to say here.

I thought the Rebels played one of their more complete games of the year last night. Strong offensive pressure combined with a general unwillingness to give Penticton any scoring chances (outside of a first-period 2-on-1 that resulted in a great Andrew Walton save off Jeff Hodgkinson), I thought were keys in the win. Lakers goaltender Jacob Mattes was terrific in the loss making 52 saves, and was only beaten in the first two periods by two posts (one by Ryan Aynsley, the other by Diego Bartlett on a breakaway), before the floodgates opened in the third. I asked Junker about the continued strong play of what I've dubbed the "Kid" line of Bartlett, Arthur Andrews and Stuart Walton. Personally, I think they typify the hard work attitude the coaching staff is trying to preach, and Junker echoed my sentiments.

The trio of new players also looked good. Matt Ridley picked up a goal and an assist in his Rebels debut, I thought his skating was very good and easily has one of the harder shots on the team already. Anthony DeLong looked good on a line with Tyler Robinson and Taylor Anderson and created several turnovers in the offensive zone. Adam Smith started with a bang with a big hit, and was in the Lakers' face every shift.

With 7 days before their next game (Sat. 25 vs. Beaver Valley at home), Junker tells me practice this week will be devoted to developing systems and trying to build chemistry. He says he's looking forward to the break to work on things like the power-play and breakout, and thanks to the light schedule this week has a chance to do just that before the games pick up in earnest.

Sunday Roundup: Nelson, after losing 6-2 in Grand Forks last night, picked up their first win of the season at home this afternoon, 3-2 over the Lakers. Spokane went 1-2 on their Interior swing. After beating Kamloops on Friday they dropped games in Princeton and Kelowna. Osoyoos also continued their hot start beating Princeton 8-3 this afternoon.

Bits & Bites: Sicamous has bolstered their offense significantly, picking up forward Brandon Formosa after he was let go by the BCHL's Powell River Kings. The 17 year-old Mission product notched 6 points in his Eagles debut Friday. Spokane has picked up 19 year-old defenceman Tanner Slarks to bolster their d-corps. A Braves parent tells me Slarks should be one of their leaders on the blue line. I mentioned Troy Petrick's exploits in the NAHL earlier this week, but two other players who skated in the Neil Murdoch division are also trying their luck in that circuit. Sean Muller, who also played for Nelson last year, is trying to crack the Kenai River Brown Bears' roster, while former Spokane Brave Jesse Collins is with the Wenatchee Wild.

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