The Oceanside Sharks peewee lacrosse team very nearly fell short of enough players to field a team in 2016, and when they take the floor it was to a series of one-sided losses.
The Sharks are still at the bottom of the league standings, but they are no longer a pushover.
Zach Lantaigne scored on a third-period rush under heavy pressure from a Campbell River defender and the peewees threw a scare into the visiting Ravens before settling for a 5-4 loss Sunday at Howie Meeker Arena in Parksville.
“It’s a building year,” admitted Brian Pasquill, the team’s head coach. “We lost our first nine games, and we lost bad. But these guys have improved dramatically. They’re competing now.”
Pasquill had only eight players turn out for “tryouts” this spring, and had to go back to his peewee house hockey team to recruit another five players.
“This teams has eight or nine new players that have never played the game before,” he said. “You can still see times when they’re out of position, or chasing the ball.”
Sunday’s game began that way, and the Sharks fell into a quick 2-0 in the opening seven minutes. From that point on, though, the peewees held their own and even outscored the Ravens while falling just short in the rally.
Lantaigne finished with two goals and Evan Obodzinski and Dagen Dewaal added scores, all unassisted. Davis Lou-Poy came up with a number of big saves in goal to keep the Sharks close, and was victimized on the game-winner by a two-on-none breakaway when the Ravens raced behind the Oceanside defence.
“We got into a little bit of a hole off the top, but we came back,” said Pasquill. “They played really well.”