It has been five years since the New Liskeard Cubs have had a winning record. And while 10 games do not make a season, the Cubs have climbed over the .500 mark with a record of 5-4-1.
After starting the 2019-2020 Great North Midget Hockey League season with four straight setbacks, New Liskeard has since gone 5-0-1 over its past six outings. And the most recent win for the Cubs was a 6-5, come from behind victory over the second place Kapuskasing Flyers.
It has been a rugged road back to respectability for New Liskeard.
Since finishing in first place during the 2014-2015 campaign with a record of 25-8-3, New Liskeard has had four straight losing seasons.
The Cubs went 14-18-2 in 2015-2016, fell to 9-24-3 in 2016-2017, dipped even further to 5-30-1 in 2017-2018 and then had a 10-23-3 record in 2018-2019. Add it up and New Liskeard’s four-season record prior to this one is a rather shabby 38-95-9.
And it looked as though the losing trend was going to continue when New Liskeard began this 2019-2020 term with the aforementioned four losses in a row. But now, at 5-4-1 through 10 games, the turnaround in New Liskeard has the Cubs in a better position than they have been in since the 2014-2015 season.
Granted, seven of New Liskeard’s 10 games thus far this season have been played in the cozy confines of their home facility, the Don Shepherdson Memorial Arena. Still, the Cubs are scoring goals at opportune times and getting good goal-tending while out-scoring the opposition 52 to 43.
Five New Liskeard forwards, Benjamin White (6-12-18), Jackson Buffam (6-11-17), Zach Lajoie (7-6-13), Carter Richmond (5-7-12) and Tyson Bradford (5-6-11), are averaging more than a point per game. And a sixth forward, Matt Hill, has eight points, including seven goals.
Between the pipes, rookie Zach Prusky has appeared in parts of eight games for the Cubs and has reduced his goals against average to 3.98. Also having seen action is holdover goalie Alex Date, who has a 4.76 goals against average over parts of four outings.
Veteran New Liskeard coach Steve Polyblank has a simple explanation for the way the Cubs have rebounded with the 5-0-1 record over their last six games.
Polyblank has traced the turnaround in New Liskeard to better overall team play, telling Hockey News North that “we have reduced the number of shots on our net and when we do have letdowns, our goalies have played well and kept us in games.”
And Polyblank relayed the upbeat atmosphere that surrounds the New Liskeard squad.
“Winning changes a lot of things like confidence and belief … and as a result everyone is having a lot more fun,” Polyblank summed up.