There have been growing pains, but head coach Taylor Lambke is pleased with the progress of the Strait Pirates, so far, in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League season.
“We were expecting to have a learning curve because we are such a young team,” the first-year head coach said.
He added the team is gaining “more and more experience” with each game.
“We have many of our young guys who have stepped up and shown that they can play at this level,” Lambke said.
He noted the likes of Josh Foster, Josh MacMillan, Bryce Reynolds, Nick MacGillivray and Devin Sceles are making a “strong impact” in their first year with the organization.
“They are learning and developing well,” Lambke said.
The Pirates sit fourth in the Sid Rowe Division with an 8-11-2-1 record for 19 points.
“The biggest thing is we have to get back to playing our game,” Lambke said, when asked about the keys to a successful second half and drive to the playoffs.
“When we have been successful, we play fast, move the puck and make plays.”
Noting issues, such as “horrible” passing, in the final games before Christmas, Lambke said the team, somewhat, “limped into the break.”
“We want to use this time to get refreshed and refocus,” he added, in a Dec. 20 interview.
As for his first season behind the bench in the provincial loop, Lambke called it “great.”
“I learned quickly that it is a very good league,” he said.
Lambke noted he has had to make adjustments, including one practice per week, along with accommodating players’ school and work schedules.
“But, so far, so good,” he said.
When asked about potential roster moves, Lambke said the Pirates will “look at a few things.”
“We always want to improve,” he added.
Lambke noted, if possible, acquiring a defenseman or a veteran forward, would be on such a wish list.
“Someone to help the young guys – up front – as they continue to develop, provide us with some experience,” he said.
Lambke praised the fan support for the rebuilding organization.
“We really appreciate it,” he said.
The Pirates will hit the ice Friday (Jan. 5), when they host the defending league champion Pictou County Scotians at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.