The Lundar Falcons finished in last place during the inaugural Capital Region Junior Hockey League season but it did not stop them from being one goal away from the championship series.
The Falcons took a best-of-three survivor series against the fourth-seeded St. Malo Warriors before losing in Game 7 of their semifinal series against the eventual champions Selkirk Fishermen. Despite how their playoffs ended, Falcons head coach James Worthing believed his team was better than its record showed.
“Last year, we had quite a few injuries that really hampered us,” he said to The Interlake Spectator. “This year, everybody’s healthy and ready to go, so I think this will be a really good year.”
Worthing also added that with the exception of two players, almost everyone from his roster last season will return to the fold for the 2019-20 season. He also described his team’s play to be “very aggressive” on ice, but he acknowledged that there is work to be done on the back end.
“The one issue that we have, as it stands right now with the players not returning, is the defensive end. We’re going to have some rookies playing on defense for us, which means we really have to tighten up in our defensive zone and at the same time be aggressive in our offensive zone,” Worthing said.
Another intangible he is looking for from his team is consistency.
“Show up to every practice and every game, ready to put in 100%,” he added.
Lundar Memorial Arena hosted a pre-season tournament featuring all five CRJHL teams from Sept. 27 to 29. The tournament will not only give the Falcons an opportunity to watch their rivals in action, but also other teams evaluating each other’s squads.
The Falcons defeated the Arborg Ice Dawgs 6-5 on Sept. 27 to open the event. On Sept. 28, the Warriors won against the North Winnipeg Satelites 5-1 before the Fish took care of the Ice Dawgs with a 6-2 win. On the final day, Selkirk and St. Malo will play each other at 2 p.m. and the Falcons and Satelites face off at 7 p.m.
Lundar’s regular season will open at Arborg and District Arena against the Ice Dawgs on Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Falcons’ home opener will be against North Winnipeg on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m.