A 6-2 win over rival Whistler in mid-December pushed the Sunshine Coast Midget Rep Blues into first place and made for a nice Christmas break.
And now that the calendar has flipped to January, the Blues are looking to continue their strong season and make it back to the final four again this year.
The Blues entered the 2013-14 season with some big holes to fill. Both goalies graduated, as did half of the starting defence. The forward lines also suffered losses as several key players moved on.
On the bright side, the team returned a solid core group of seasoned and talented players. With the addition of a handful of skilled first year midget-eligible players, the 2013 team began to take shape.
The outstanding season put together by last year’s team led to a very high seeding with the accompanying pressure of high expectations. The team performed well throughout the seeding portion of the schedule, finishing at 5-2-1.
They then played in a season-opening tournament in Abbotsford, making the final before losing to Richmond.
The solid play carried over to the league portion of schedule as the Blues piled up the wins despite often playing with a short lineup. At the break they sat with an impressive 8-2-2 record that is accompanied by nine crucial sportsmanship points.
Therin Hemstalk, Gavin Strom and Brennen Meyers have combined for more than 60 goals while forming a potent first line.
The team also boasts a solid second line of Austin Clarke, Robbie Casey and Conner Peers, who have added 30 goals of their own.
The third line has been an ever-changing mix due to numerous injuries, but is comprised of Kordell Vaughn, Slade Watts and valuable swingman Nolan Caldwell, when he’s not filling in on defence.
The defensive corps has been rebuilt around returning vets and captain Tyler Graham, and assistant captain Lakota Joe. Tyler has been a potent scoring threat from the backend, with 14 goals and a bushel of assists from his dangerous rushes, while Lakota has been a rock solid wall in front of the net.
The defence is rounded out by returnee Nick Shoji, who was a forward last year, and impressive newcomer Justin Macy.
Nick provides exciting offence from the backend while Justin has been rock steady while paired with Tyler.
Ethan Hutton has had the tough task of filling the big hole in net and he’s done an admirable job. Despite not playing last season, Ethan has stepped in and played solid and has shown the resiliency to bounce back after the occasional tough outing.