Eagles hand Concordes first loss

Matt Molloy
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Lane scores twice in 8-3 loss to Exploits Valley High

Jacob Lane of the Gander Collegiate Concordes hockey team kept his sweltering scoring streak going, but it came in a losing effort to the Exploits Valley High School Eagles Friday night in Central Newfoundland High School Hockey League action.

GOING WIDE — Gander Collegiate Concordes’ Reg Leavitt, right, goes wide on Exploits Valley High School Eagles’ defenceman Ryan Moss during the third period of Friday night’s game at the Gander Community Centre. The Eagles defeated the Concordes 8-3.

Lane scored twice to record multiple points for the third-straight game, and Steve Best added a single, but the Concordes dropped an 8-3 game to the Eagles at the Gander Community Centre.

Best also added an assist in the loss, and Brandon Mills collected a pair of helpers.

The Exploits team was led by a four-goal effort from captain Brandon Jewer, and Cody Drover recorded three assists.

"The first period, minus the first few minutes, was great. I thought the first-half of the game was excellent," said head coach Darryl Hayden. "We did breakdown a little in the second-half of the game, and our defensive zone coverage was probably the biggest. We'll be working on that."

The Eagles came out like a team on fire, scoring the game's first two goals in the span of 2:01.

However, Lane responded by scoring two goals in seven seconds to tie the game 2-2. Shawn Loveridge regained the lead for the Eagles late in the opening period, and the Exploits squad never looked back.

The Concordes never helped its own cause by taking 13 of 14 penalties in the second and third periods. Many of the players spent too much time on the ice killing penalties, including a couple of five-on-threes.

"It's the second game in a row where we collected too many penalties," said Hayden. "We don't like to see that. When you have to work a lot with your special teams during a game, a lot of the kids get tired. We've definitely been working our special teams."

Goaltender Riley Butt agreed with his coach. There wasn't much Butt could do about the goals that were scored on him, but despite the lopsided score, he expects the loss will push the team to get better, and prove to the Eagles the Concordes are a lot better than what they showed Friday evening.

"We took too many penalties," said Butt. "We couldn't get our power play going and we need to play better in our own end. We got caught running around a lot, but we're going to come out harder the next time we play them, and we're going to have a better effort.

"There's always been that rivalry between Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor," he added. "They're a quick team, and we need to come out harder against them than what we did tonight, and bring a better effort."

Not only was it the first time the Concordes played its rivals from EVH in high school hockey this season, it was the first time a few of the Concordes dressed for a game.

With new players come new chemistry, and although it took time for the new players to get used to playing in a new system, Hayden was confident saying the team will gel together, and new lines combinations will eventually form chemistry needed to win hockey games.

"We had a few players in the lineup tonight that hadn't played yet," said Hayden. "We're continuing to work on line combinations, so it's better to get this out of the way early instead of having it happen late in the season."

Rookie senior high players like Blair Bursey, Colton Collins, Thomas Hedges, Mike Mason and Graham Oldford all dressed Friday night, and Josh Fitzgerald was a healthy scratch.

The rookies are coming along nicely, according to Hayden, who added the new Concordes also understand they won't always be seeing the ice as often as the veteran players.

"They're great...they're some of our better players," said Hayden of the younger Concordes. "They play AAA hockey as well as high school hockey, so that shows you where their talent level is at right there. However, since they do play AAA hockey, it's hard to get them in the lineup, and it's hard for them to gel with the other players. But we'll continue working on that the best we can.

"The players are pretty understanding about not getting in (the lineup) as often as other players on some days, but they're all good kids and we have a good team here."

mmolloy@ganderbeacon.ca

Organizations: Gander Community Centre

Geographic location: Gander

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