By Matthew Murphy
For the Niagara River Lions, their third home appearance, Jan 5th at the Meridian Centre, was no piece of cake. From the start of the first quarter until the end of the game, the lead was in constant flux. Though Logan Stutz led in scoring and boards at the end of the night, with 24 points and 19 rebounds, it was clear that the River Lions bench has a lot to offer.
Throughout the game the River Lions roster would each see some time on the court. Adam Blazek and Sammy Zeglinski both had astonishing numbers when it came to rebounds, capturing 12 and 7 respectively; given their position as point guard.
Clearly, the night’s star was number 23 Marcus Lewis who, with 20 points and 3 assists, played a huge roll in rallying the team as well as the fans. From tying the game in the second, after being fouled on a 3 point attempt, bringing the score to 24, to knocking down two consecutive 3’s at the 8 to 7 minute mark in the fourth, it was clear that Lewis was proving himself to be a key player.
“We are a really young team, we have a lot of first year guys and because we are a first year team (in the NBL) we don’t mesh as well early on as some of the other teams who have been playing together for three or four years. The fact that we are staying in games…we haven’t had a game that hasn’t been close so far this year, I feel like we could be really, really good,” he said.
“I’d like to think that everyone plays a key role […] coach emptied the bench tonight, it was definitely a team effort and we needed everybody. It will be our first time flying out East as a team, but we are gonna try and come back with a couple wins.When it comes to defense it’s about guys being aggressive. After the half, when coach (Murray) got under our skin about contesting the three, we did a much better job. We just need to do that from start to finish and we will be a much better team because of that.”
Though some would argue that there were many missed calls in the first half, as well as an inability for Windsor’s Interim Head Coach, Tony Jones, to stay off the court during play, the Lions fought through frustration and pulled out a 92-91 win.
Our River Lions will be on the road until Jan 20th due to the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship taking place at the Meridian Centre but return to face the London Lightning.