The second season is back. The playoffs begin for the Winnipeg Blues this coming Friday night with the Blues heading to Virden to take on the Oil Capitals
The Blues went through what would be called a good regular season, not one for the ages, but a season with some adversity, some lacklustre efforts, some outstanding efforts, some luck, some great individual and team performances, and some great games all in one.
As the saying goes, “it doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish” and if that’s the case, the Blues are hitting their stride at just the right time.
The Blues haven’t had a regulation loss since January, and went 7-0-4 in their last 11 games to end the regular season.
A big reason for the success could be attested to the leadership group. That group is led by 21 year old Taeron Lewis, who has donned the “C” for the club this season.
Lewis set career highs in points this season, finishing second on the team behind Kam Nault (76points) with 68 points, and leading the team in assists with 42.
“I felt overall it was a good season for us.” says Lewis. “We lost 6 of our top 8 scorers this season so that meant some players would need to step up their game and contribute in different ways, so it was nice to see the guys rise to the task.”
In the playoffs, the games are often tight, and decided by one goal. The Blues are no strangers to playing in close games. Out of the 60 regular season games, Winnipeg had 27 that were decided by just a one goal difference.
Lewis believes his team is well prepared for anything that gets thrown their way during this years playoff run.
“The coaching staff has done a great job. From adjusting to what works and what doesn’t work for our style of team has allowed us to strengthen our weaknesses, and that was evident with us having been in the games with a chance to win throughout the past month.”
The Blues captain was a part of the last Blues Championship during the 2013/14 season. During that run, the Blues knocked off the top three teams in the league in succession en route to the championship. Lewis sees a lot of similarities between between that club and this year’s squad.
“We have a hard working team with all 4 lines that can roll and do an effective job at either playing offense or defense, which was the case back then.” adds Lewis.
“Last year we were slightly more emotional when things went wrong. However two years ago and this year, we just play the game and worry about the things that are in our control! We have a mentally tough team, and that was highly beneficial to us when we won the championship.”