Lake Tahoe Blue swept by division leaders Idaho
Lake Tahoe Blue vs. Idaho
When: Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m.
Where: South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena
Tickets: $10 adults, $7 students, $5 children 10 and under
McCALL, Idaho — The Lake Tahoe Blue hockey club knew it was in for a tough challenge against Idaho headed into last weekend — and the Jr. Steelheads were as every bit as good as their place atop the WSHL Northwest Division would suggest. The Blue were swept the Jr. Steelheads in a three-game series at the Manchester Ice and Events Center.
“We have to raise our game — that’s something Idaho is forcing us to do,” Blue head coach Mike Richardson said. “I don’t think we played badly — they’re a good team and they took it to us.”
In the series opener last Friday, Lake Tahoe lost to Idaho 6-1. The Jr. Steelheads scored the first four goals of the game before the Blue got on the board late in the second period — forward Alexander Lobachev scored off an assist from forward Brandon Aab for the team’s only goal.
Last Saturday, the Blue fell to the Jr. Steelheads 9-1. Idaho led 6-0 after the second period, and Lake Tahoe avoided a shutout when Lobachev scored the first goal of the third period off an assist from forward Connor Melton.
In the series finale last Sunday, Lake Tahoe lost to Idaho by an 8-1 margin. The Blue struck 10 seconds after the opening faceoff on a goal from forward Julius Bauermeister assisted by Lobachev and forward David Raus — then the Jr. Steelheads scored eight goals unanswered, including four in the third period.
“We took the 1-0 lead really early, and then we had three breakaways right after that we missed,” Richardson said.
Lake Tahoe was outshot by a three-to-one margin during the series, as Idaho completed a sweep to remain atop the division standings. In 15 games this season, Idaho has 14 wins and hasn’t lost in regulation.
“I don’t think that Idaho was seven goals better than us,” Richardson said. “We had our chances that we didn’t capitalize on. We did a lot of things well, it’s just really hard to see it because of the scores — we did a lot of good things, we just have to be better.”
One of the bright spots for Lake Tahoe against the Jr. Steelheads was its special teams. The Blue went 8-for-9 on penalty kills during the three-game series.
“Our penalty kill was pretty good all weekend long — all three of the games were hard, physical games, and both teams got a lot of looks on the power play,” Richardson said. “Our power play didn’t produce like we have been, but it doesn’t mean that we weren’t getting our looks — we created chances but we didn’t score off them.”
Lake Tahoe (4-10-1-0) currently sits sixth in the Northwest Division standings with nine points. The Blue face Idaho again this weekend, hosting the Jr. Steelheads in a three-game series at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena — Friday and Saturday’s games begin at 7:30 p.m., and the puck drops for Sunday’s series finale at 2 p.m.
“I’m excited that we get to play them really quickly again. They did everything that we knew they would do, and they still did it — now we’ve had a week of practice to prepare for them again,” Richardson said. “We’re excited to be back at home and we’re excited to play. If fans want a good, physical series be here Friday night — it’s going to get interesting.”
Blue add forward, defenseman, goaltender
In the past two weeks, Lake Tahoe made some moves to further shake up its roster.
The Blue added three players while sending goaltender Cole Anderson and defender Martin Theisen to the Arizona Redhawks of the WSHL Western Division.
“We’re adding new pieces to our puzzle and hoping we just keep on moving forward,” Richardson said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction — now it’s just a matter of being an everydayer and to keep plugging away.”
On Nov. 3, Lake Tahoe signed defenseman Patryk Fiedorek. The 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound Brighton, Colo. native brings a veteran presence to the Blue — he is a game-time decision to play in Friday’s series opener.
“He brings size, and he brings more experience to our blue line,” Richardson said. “He has played in the league before and he understands what it takes — he’s a very mature young man that we’re very excited about bringing in.”
On Nov. 4, the club signed goaltender Michael Cowell. The Mansfield, Mass. native is the second goalie on Lake Tahoe’s roster.
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