|Danick Martel tallied two goals in last Saturday's season opener. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook
Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Danick Martel has come into this season looking to prove that last year's team-leading 22 goals wasn't a fluke. If last weekend's season opener was any indication, Martel still has that lightning in a bottle skating agility and an ability to finish scoring chances.
"I think I came this year to work on many things," Martel said after his two-goal performance last Saturday, stressing he's focused on consistency in 2016-17. "I played pretty well [Saturday], but I need to play well on Friday night too."
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"Martel had a great game, not just scoring goals but doing a lot of the right things that we have been asking him to do," Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said after Saturday's win.
"It happens," Martel explained. "He was close to Stolie, so I just tried to push him off. He dropped his gloves. I tried to protect myself. I'm a small guy, so I need to be smart about it too. I did my job, stayed close to him. He didn't punch me or injure so I think I did my job with that."
Martel, like any young player coming into the pro ranks, is trying to improve his play away from the puck to become a more complete player. While the Phantoms jumped out to an early lead, they sputtered a bit early in the third period and it nearly cost them. Consider it a lesson learned, according to Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon, and Martel wasn't afraid to admit to it after Saturday's win.
"We have a lot of offense, but now we need to focus too on defense," Martel said, adding, "We are offensive guys, so for sure sometimes it's going to open up but we need to focus on [playing well defensively]."
"I'm not going to be on the first two lines this year. I'll be a third liner. I need to work hard. I need to piss off the other team. I need to play my role. I did that pretty well [Saturday], I had two goals because of it. It was a good start and I'll build off of that for sure."