Jamie Lyon could have asked for a better four weeks in local hockey. First he fell short of a roller hockey championship and now he is on the worst team, record-wise, in ball hockey.
Lyon is captain of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Islanders squad, which currently sits in the cellar of the Cayman Islands Ball Hockey league. Lyon saw his Islanders lose 6-3 to Michael Hall and the Deloitte Devil Rays last Thursday at the Logic arena of Kings Sports Centre. The defeat mathematically eliminates 2-8 CIBC, the reigning league champions, from playoff contention.
The West Bay Road resident states missing the postseason and a chance to defend the title is tough.
“It’s definitely disappointing for sure to go from winning it one year to be eliminated from making the playoffs this early,” Lyon said. “Going into the season I thought we would have had one of the better teams in the league and that clearly was not proven on the rink. It’s been a very frustrating season so far.”
For Lyon, 30, the loss comes after a heart-breaking result in last month’s Cherry Cup finals of the Logic Adult Roller Hockey League. His Budget Beavers were beaten by the Islanders in three games. Adding insult to the injury of that best-of-three series was news that Budget goalie Ryan Vanderwal was leaving the island for family reasons. Lyon is focused on the ball hockey campaign, which he feels was sidetracked by player fitness and availability.
“There are a few reasons we struggled so much this year. Offensively, I think we did alright as we had more or less the same goals and the leading goal scorer in Mark Missal, but unfortunately we also gave up the most goals. I think the biggest problem was getting guys out consistently. Almost every game we were getting eight or nine guys showing up and our team just wasn’t fit enough to run with the other teams for an entire game.
“For the first half we’d be right in the mix of things only to see it slip away in the second half. As the games went on, we got tired and left our defence and our goalie Nigel alone in our zone with countless two-on-ones or three-on-ones. The league is too competitive to do that on a consistent basis and expect to win. I guess we will just have to regroup, hit the gym and hope for the best for the second part of the season.”
Heading into this week CIBC had allowed a league-high 57 goals. The side did score 38 goals, which ranks in the middle of the league. In fact there are a number of offensive stars this season. Among them is league-leading scorer Mark Missal (17 goals, eight assists and 25 points) and Patrick Cover (12 points, seven assists and five goals). Lyon (third in points with 16 points, 11 assists and five goals) has not done too bad for himself either.
Heading into this week there are eight games left in the regular season. A pair of them take place tonight, Thursday 13 January at 8pm and 9pm at Kings. The four other clubs in the league have a lot to play for as playoff seedings are still to be determined. Lyon states his focus will be on the top three squads.
“It’s tough to really say who is the team to beat as we’ve lost to them all. The top three teams in the BDO-CML Pirates (6-3), Sharks and Devil Rays (both 5-3) are all pretty even and it’s a toss up from there. Sorry Darryl (Hather, captain of the fourth-place 4-5 Lone Star Barracudas).
“If I had to choose, I’d have to go with Deloitte. We played them the other night and I think they are a solid all-around team and they never stop running. They’ve got a few guys that can bury the ball for them, so they are tough to shut down offensively.”