Lac St. Louis Lions head coach Jon Goyens was right when he told the The Chronicle earlier this fall that some returning players in his team were ready to take on bigger minutes and play bigger roles.
That’s certainly the case of second-year centre Vimal Sukumaran who has recently been named offensive player of the month by the Quebec midget AAA League scoring 11 goals and gathering six assists for 17 points in only eight games. Sukumaran now places 10th in league scoring with 23 and fourth in goals with 14 in 16 games. For the Lions’ veteran, hard work is paying off.
“At every practice, every shift, and every two minutes: you just go hard and get those goals. You work hard every day and try to get better, the points come up and you’re helping your team win. It feels good,” he said last month after a dazzling four-point performance on Oct. 19.
His performances on the ice and work ethic have won him praise from his head coach and teammates.
“He is playing really well right now and he really wants to learn. He gives it his all at every practice, he wants to review game videos, and he wants to get better. He is a player others can follow, one of our good leaders right now. There are times when he doesn’t speak a lot but his actions on the ice speak for him,” said Goyens.
“Vimal has got good speed and has ability to grind the corners so we have good chemistry. He can finish his plays and hit too. He is an all-around player,” said Vincent Watt, who plays left wing on Sukumaran’s line.
The Lions finished October with a record of six wins and two losses while at the end of September, they stood at 4-4-1. At press time, they sat in second place of the Reebook division and were fourth overall in the league with 21 points with a 10-6-1 record.
Sukumaran’s offensive explosion coincides with the Lions drastically improving their record. The centre was selected as one of the three stars six times in eight games. He obtained the first star three times, was named second star twice and third star once, earning two game-winning goals in the making.
On top of being the team’s first centre, the five-foot-eight-and-a-half, 187-pound forward also gets top minutes on the first penalty killing unit. His strong frame and physical play allow him to create space around him which in turn, leads to offensive opportunities. While his physicality allows him to rack up the points, he has learned to channel his aggressiveness properly to avoid unnecessary penalties.
“He now understands the difference between aggressive penalties and the ones that bring suspensions. He has found a way to play his style of hockey while remaining on the ice,” Goyens said.
Sukumaran’s progression has been rather unorthodox. He came up from bantam AA two years ago as a defenseman and he was made into a forward by Goyens which has led him to never lose sight of the defensive aspect of his game.