GRAVENHURST - Anchored by its captain Brandon Luksa and import player Andrey Novikov, the South Muskoka Shield offence ended the 2012 portion of this season with a hot hand and pulled the club within striking distance of third place overall.
The Shield played their final game of 2012 at home against Bobcaygeon, handing the visitors a 7-2 drubbing.
Photo by Richard Coburn
The Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League standings are starting to bunch up a bit near the top and the Shield, which started the season slow and held a losing record through the first 10 games, are now right in the mix of the playoff hunt. The regular season ends in the first week of February and now only two points behind the third-seeded Bracebridge Phantoms, Shield head coach and general manager Dallyn Telford says consistent play and solid teamwork should lead the club into the playoffs.
The Shield played their final game of 2012 Dec. 21 at home against Bobcaygeon. Team captain Brandon Luksa continued to stymie the defenses, coming off a Dec. 15 weekend that saw him prop his club up with two hat tricks over that weekend. Against Bobcaygeon, he did it again, earning his third straight game with a hat trick with two assists to boot for a five-point night. It was a 7-2 drubbing of Bobcaygeon with Russian forward and first-year Shield player Andrey Novikov adding a hat trick of his own along with an assist for a four-point night.
Novikov opened the scoring mid-way through the first period with Bobcaygeon responding shortly after for a tight 1-1 match-up. The Shield’s Colby Jordan reclaimed the team’s one-point advantage to close out the first period before Luksa and Novikov added two more to open the second for a 4-2 game headed into the third period. With about four minutes gone off the clock in the third and final frame, Novikov added his third goal of the night, followed by two straight from Luksa to cap off the seven-goal attack.
The Shield head into 2013 in fourth place with 38 points in 28 games and an 18-8-0-2 record, just two points back of Bracebridge and five up on fifth-place Powassan.
The recent offensive surge by Novikov now has him in the top five of league scorers now with 61 points and he’s also fourth place overall with 31 goals scored.
The Shield will enjoy a break now to freshen up and won’t be back on the ice until Jan. 4, when they host the Toronto Moose at 8 p.m. They then play away in Bradford to take on the undefeated Rattlers Jan. 6 with their perfect 24-0 record.