Austin Loes, Spencer Lawrence pace Mitchell Marlins boys' hockey teamBefore this season even started, Spencer Lawrence and Austin Loes were two of the most feared offensive threats in the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
Before this season even started, Spencer Lawrence and Austin Loes were two of the most feared offensive threats in the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association.
Through 11 games, the Mitchell Marlins’ forwards have shown why.
Lawrence, a sophomore wing, is leading the SDAHA with 27 goals.
Loes, a junior center and team captain, is leading the SDAHA with 25 assists and 41 total points.
“When (Spencer and Austin) go out on the ice, you kind of just know there’s a chance they’re going to get a goal every time,” Marlins’ goalie and assistant captain Dillon Miles said. “They work so good together and they have such good chemistry.”
The Marlins (6-5) have needed every bit of that chemistry thus far this season. And they will continue to lean on their high-scoring forwards when they host SDAHA-leading Pierre for a pair of games this weekend.
Mitchell hosts Pierre (9-1) at 5 p.m. today and at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Mitchell Activities Center.
The Marlins have had two veteran defenders — Miles Johnson and Austin Podhradsky — go down with injuries in the past few weeks, leaving the back line of coach John Lord’s squad a bit thin.
Johnson had season-ending knee surgery last week. Podhradsky dislocated his shoulder three times in games last weekend against Sioux Falls and Huron, Lawrence said.
“It really makes us have to work harder because we also have to get back on defense, too,” Lawrence said of the added responsibility since his teammates’ injuries. “You just have to work harder in practice.
“We’re always supposed to come back and backcheck hard, but with the defense being hurt, we have to come back that much more.”
Loes and Lawrence’s numbers do not appear to be taking much of a hit, though.
Loes has scored 16 goals to go with his 25 assists, while Lawrence has recorded 12 assists to go along with his 27 goals this season.
They each are on the Marlins’ first line of offense and have played together long enough to know just how to get the most out of one another.
Loes and Lawrence played on South Dakota’s U-16 National Team together last summer. That team traveled to tournaments in Minnesota and North Dakota and is scheduled to go to Washington D.C. in April.
“Austin and Spencer both push themselves every practice and they’re the guys that are spending an extra half hour at home in the garage working on their stick handling,” Lord said. “They’re the guys doing stuff in the summer; they’re just always trying to improve.”
Lawrence said he wishes he could steal one thing in particular from his teammates’ game to add to his arsenal.
“Definitely his hockey sense,” Lawrence said of Loes’ best attribute. “He always knows where to be and where everything is going to go. He always finds the perfect spot to be on the ice.”
Loes said he admires Lawrence’s control on the ice.
“He works hard,” Loes said of Lawrence. “If something goes wrong, he doesn’t get mad. He only has four penalty minutes this year, which just shows that he doesn’t have much of a temper.
“We’ve got good chemistry on the ice, that’s what people say anyway.”
It keeps looking more and more like those people are right.