The Portage Islanders are the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League's last undefeated team. The Islanders have a 3-0 record and have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 21-3.
Forward Derrick Brooks says they're happy with the wins but they're not satisfied with their play. He notes at this point in the season there is always a lot to improve upon.
One of the largest bright spots for Portage this year has been the addition of goaltender Steve Christie, who played with the Carman Beavers for the last eight seasons.
"We've played against him for a number of years, and we know how good he is, and it gives us confidence with him back there in net," Brooks explains. "Also, the addition of (Tyler) Van Deynze gives our defence some more stability. Those are areas of improvement our team has needed, not only with players back there in the defensive end, but even just as a unit in our D-zone. Those two have definitely helped us with that."
Portage-born defenceman, Van Deynze, has scored one goal in his two appearances in an Islanders uniform so far this year.
Brooks says the team hopes to stay in game shape during this weekend off, as they have two big matchups next weekend against the Warren Mercs and St. Anne Aces.
"It'll be a challenge in itself playing those two teams but then with the break, we'll hopefully get some ice and get skating but it'll be a challenge for us," Brooks continues. "We're looking forward to playing those teams, the defending champions first off and then a new team who's been off to a good start as well. We're looking forward to it but it'll be a tough challenge, for sure."
While Portage is very optimistic with the way they've begun the season, the squad knows what their main goal has to be.
"We've definitely put together some great regular seasons but the playoff is a whole new animal. It's tighter hockey and tighter checking, which we saw with Notre Dame (last year). That definitely stung at the end of last year but that just gives us motivation this year," says Brooks. "We look forward to taking that next step in the playoffs. We just need to be ready and prepared for it."
The Islanders play their next home game on Sunday, November 27 against the St. Anne Aces at 6:30.