The Canadian International Hockey Academy’s (CIHA) Major Bantam AAA team has four wins, 14 losses, and one tie match in its regular league play schedule, going into the January-February portion of their season. Head Coach Ryan Lauzon says the CIHA has a strong team, player for player, compared to their opposition, but the biggest challenge the Voyageurs have to deal with is that every season, they are a new team competing against other clubs with long histories of experience.
“It was challenging during our regular season,” Lauzon said, during a January 17 interview. “There are a lot of strong teams in the Ottawa Valley area.”
He noted that one advantage most clubs have against the Voyageurs is that they have core groups of experienced players, who have worked together for several years, from their minor hockey days on up. Every season, by comparison, the CIHA fields an almost-new team, made up of any veterans who have not yet graduated from the academy, along with a large number of rookies who are now getting their experience at higher-level competitive hockey, and also have to learn how to work together for the first time.
This season’s Voyageurs roster includes six veterans from past seasons, alongside a dozen new members of the team.
“But we’ve been in every game,” Lauzon said. “All in all, we’re very competitive.”
The Voyageurs’ head coach noted that the team has an overall combined win-loss record for the season, so far, of 10-23-3, which includes all of the team’s tournament games. Lauzon observed the Voyageurs have finished in the quarterfinal round, often against bigger and more experienced clubs from elsewhere in the province.
“We have a lot of speed,” he said. “We can put a lot of pressure on the other teams with our forecheck, and we can put the puck in the net. We just have to work on keeping it out of our net. We can beat a lot of these teams. We just have to avoid lapses in focus.”
The Voyageurs are at the Cardinal Arena, January 28 evening, against the Upper Canada Cyclones. The following Thursday, they are at the Bell Sensplex to play Ottawa Myers Auto. February 8, they are home for the evening to host Ottawa Myers.