NPH CIS Team Previews: Windsor Lancers
Interim head coach Ryan Steer isn’t Chris Oliver, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Head coach: Ryan Steer (interim)
Record in 2014: 15-5 (First in OUA West division)
Playoffs: OUA silver; Sixth in CIS
Points scored per game: 86.6
Points allowed per game: 75.0
Key players: Alex Campbell, Mitch Farrell, Mike Rocca, Isiah Osborne
Key losses: Khalid Abdel-Gabar, Rotimi Osuntola Jr., Evan Matthews
Prior to last season, the OUA underwent realignment as a way to 1) implement two new teams and 2) group together the teams and schools that are closest to one another. The problem, for the Lancers at least, is that Windsor is more or less far from every other school in Ontario. “We’re always saying it’s a challenge being the team from Windsor,” interim head coach Ryan Steer tells NPH. He isn’t saying that because they keep winning, though probably for that too. Being the foremost West team in Ontario means long traveling hours. “We’re used to that, being the farthest team,” he says, “so we’re going to travel every time.” It hasn’t hurt them much in the wins and losses column, though a road trip to Canada’s capital this season will test their mettle.
Key games: at Ottawa, Nov. 27; at Carleton Ravens, Nov. 28
at McMaster Marauders, Jan. 20
Maybe it’s having recent success that brings a sense of clarity, but Ryan Steer is able to state direct and concise goals for his team this season. “We definitely have to play uptempo style and,» Windsor’s interim head coach says, «compete on the boards, both offensively and defensively.”
Simple enough, right? When you’ve been as successful as Windsor has been in recent years, you probably see things as simple: take care of the little things, “take 2 or 3 charges per practice,” and the likes, and bigger things like wins and losses will take care of themselves.
A slew of new characters will need to accomplish the little things for the Lancers this season—most notably Steer himself, as he’ll be calling the plays and sets during Chris Oliver’s sabbatical. But as an ex-OUA all-star with the Lancers, Steer is no slouch. His eyes are set on the same prize as every other year : win in Ontario, often and enough to qualify for the CIS Final 8. “We always have pretty lofty goals,” Steer says. “Until we have to reevaluate those, I think we always will have the same (ones).”
There. Win, because you expect to and you recently always have. That sounds simple enough for you?
To end this the right way, let’s go deep in the vault: