Panthers focused on own backyard
The Pelham Panthers are quite content to fly under the radar.
The Panthers have put together a solid season with a 22-13-0-2 record and .622 winning percentage, good enough for fourth place in the Golden Horseshoe standings and 10th overall in the GOJHL in winning percentage.
“We’re a very good hockey club. We’ll just keep worrying about ourselves and take on all comers. I love the position we’re in right now,” Pelham coach Mark Barrick said. “I couldn’t be happier right now.”
The Niagara Falls Canucks and St. Catharines Falcons have been waging a battle for first place which has allowed the Panthers to go about their business without much fanfare.
“If that’s the perception that others want to have, that’s not a problem,” Barrick said. “I care about one hockey club and one hockey club only. What the others are doing is 100 per cent immaterial to me, our staff and our team. We’re worried about this dressing room and that’s all we need to focus on.”
Barrick said he learned that lesson early on his coaching career as an assistant to George Maxwell in Port Colborne.
“Worry about your own team and the things you can control. We can control our dressing room and our hockey club. What the others are doing, we’re indifferent. We have no control over it so who cares? We have to worry about ourselves.”
One thing Barrick is not worried about is the character of his team.
“I’m very happy with our dressing room and very happy with the character of 23 guys we have right now and very happy with the changes we made,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the end of January and February and into March and beyond.”
The Panthers brought in Brendan Charlton and Owen Allan recently from Thorold to beef up for the playoff run and Barrick has been thrilled with both.
“Charlton was their captain. He’s been a great hockey player in this league the last couple of years and Allen was their No. 1 goal scorer. They’re character guys and couldn’t be happier to have them in the room,” he said.
The Panthers also added defenceman Logan Warner from the Fort Erie Meteors.
“He’s a one-pass D. He’s big and strong and takes care of his own end first, but can jump into the rush and put the puck into the net. He brings strength and confidence. He’s experienced and knows the league and what we’re up against every night.”
The Panthers are home to Lockport Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and in St. Catharines Friday, Jan. 25.
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