KIRKLAND LAKE - The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners hit the ice at The Joe Wednesday for their second game of the season when they host rivals Abitibi.
The Miners are coming off a big 10-0 win over Mattawa but the coaching staff and players alike have stated nothing should be read into the score. The players hit the ice for practice Saturday and Head Coach Marc Lafleur said training is going well.
“We were working out some of the issues we have in terms of our systems and tactics. The guys are learning, asking a lot of questions so we are getting better. It was tough to judge from the (Mattawa) game what we needed to work on. We are not as good as we looked on the score board. We do know we haven’t re-invented the wheel.”
The teams played four exhibition games with Kirkland Lake coming away with three wins. Lafleur pointed out that was exhibition and he expects Wednesday’s game to be very close and competitive.
“The last few games we played they didn’t have some of their key players in the lineup like Brady Clouthier and Brenden Locke so they will be in their come Wednesday (tonight). We expect a much better game from both sides. I know their coaching staff is working hard to get their guys ready and we are doing the same.”
Those four pre-season contests were played over seven days and by the time game four rolled around the play on both sides began to get chippy.
Lafleur feels however there should be no carry-over to tonight’s game.
“It gets quickly forgotten. Everybody has a couple of new guys in their lineups as well. No, I don’t think there is going to be any carry-over from that at all. Time has a way of solving those issues.” As for who will be between the pipes for Kirkland Lake, Although Kenny Fitzgerald did get the start in game one, Lafleur is keeping his cards close to his vest in terms of whether Fitzgerald will be in net, or will he give rookie Devon Desbastos his first start of the season.
Before Friday’s game the players were introduced and the team’s Co-Captains and Assistants were named. Second-year defenceman Dylan Rosen received one of the “A’s” and he stated it was a big honour.
“Its a good thing but its not going to change me as a player or person. I’m going to come in and do my job to the best of my ability. Its always a good thing to be recognized in that manner and its definitely nice.”
As for Friday”s game he says its going to be a good measuring stick and a much different game to the exhibition contests.
“That was pre-season. We weren’t at our best, we were trying different line combinations, we were trying all sorts of things and they were missing some of their guys at OHL and Q camps so its going to be a good test.”
Puck drop Wednesday at The Joe is the usual 7:30.