By Brian Lester
Long Beach has some work to do, but the Bombers are hardly out of the postseason picture.
The Bombers were in fifth place in the Pacific Division as of Feb. 4 with a 16-18 record in the Western States Hockey League as they head into the final month of the regular season.
Those 32 points put them eight behind the Lake Tahoe Blue and 15 behind the Valencia Flyers. The Bombers only played four games in January, going 2-2 during the stretch.
“We have a real big stretch of games coming up,” said Long Beach head coach Chris White, whose team is slated to play Lake Tahoe three times Feb. 7-9.
“We certainly have a lot of work to do to make up ground in the standings, but we feel confident we can make a push for the playoffs,” said White.
Filip Martinec has been a key to success for the Bombers. White said he is one of the best players in the league when he is playing at the top of his game. Martinec had 33 goals and 46 assists heading into the heart of February.
Tomas Nemeth played in 29 games and stood with 22 goals and 52 assists while Konstantin Kotkov racked up 26 goals and 29 assists in 31 games.
Marcus Viitanen and Johan Beatty had tallied 24 and 11 goals, respectively, while combining for 45 assists, including 31 by Viitanen.
White said one of the keys to success going forward is being strong in penalty kill situations.
“We’ve struggled a little bit with our penalty kill lately, but we’ve http://popsec.org/generic/ done a good job on the power play,” White said. “We’re starting to come around on the penalty kill and it’s just a matter of putting it all together and continuing to improve.”
White also expects his team to be consistent night in and night out in order to make a push for the postseason.
“Consistency is going to be huge for us,” White said. “We have the talent and ability to be a good team, and the opportunities are in front of us to make a run and get into the playoffs.”
Read past Western States Hockey League articles in our archives: