It's been another trying season for the Lac du Bonnet Blues.
The Blues, who recorded three wins in 20 games during their inaugural season in the Carillon Senior Hockey League, have found the win column just once this year.
"It's been a battle going back and forth finding guys," said Lac du Bonnet captain Brent Wold shortly after the Blues fell 16-2 to the Red River Wild last Saturday in Morris. "Distance is a little thing but senior hockey is dying off in our area so we're trying to keep that alive as much as we can. There are a lot of guys around that we're trying to get to play but the guys that come out give 110%. They're here day in, day out making these long trips and making it worth it."
That lone Lac du Bonnet win was a big one.
The Blues scored three unanswered third period goals and defeated the defending champion Ste. Anne Aces 7-6 earlier this month in Lac du Bonnet.
"There were lots of smiles and everyone was having a good time after that," said Wold who potted the winner with 45 seconds remaining in regulation. "It was a big fundraiser night for our team so everything came together perfectly that night. We had a lot of fans. We clawed our way back into the game and no one gave up. It was a really good team win."
The addition of forward Rylan Hoffman has been a bright spot for the Blues.
The 18-year-old Lac du Bonnet product, who had 60 goals and 59 assists during his three years with the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League's Eastman Selects, has eight goals and eight assists in 15 games this season with the Blues.
Wold, who also played for the Selects and helped the Portage Terriers capture back-to-back Manitoba Junior Hockey League championships, has been thoroughly impressed with Hoffman's performance in the CSHL.
"He's a great hockey player. He's a heads up player and every game he's got better and better. To see some of the goals he's scored - he's got some good skills."
The Blues have five games left in the regular season schedule and in all likelihood will face the La Broquerie Habs in a best-of-three series to determine who moves on to the semifinals.
"We just want a commitment," Wold said when asked what he would like to see over the last quarter of the season before the playoffs begin. "We want everyone to show up for the games. We're a totally different team when we have a full roster. When we have just 10 players, it gets tiring for everyone who shows up. So when we get that commitment and everyone shows up, we can play."
That's the short term fix.
"We have to convince the guys who I know can play, to come out and play," Wold said. "There's a lot of recreation teams around our area. That's where we lost most of our guys - when the Manitoba Senior Hockey League folded and those players went to rec hockey. They've watched our games and it looks like they're interested in coming out so hopefully next year we can snag a few more guys."