Martel Continuing To Develop His Game With Phantoms

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Danick Martel tallied two goals in last Saturday's season opener. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Martel Hoping To Build Off of Rookie Season

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."

Playing on the left-wing on Lehigh Valley's third line, Martel's wide range of skills were on full display in the team's season opener.

In Case You Missed It: Your weekly Lehigh Valley Phantoms update will be published over at Flyers Nation this season! Here's my first Phantoms update.

"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.

Not only did he beat experienced veteran goaltender Mike McKenna twice with well-placed shots, he also got his nose dirty in the hard areas of the ice - picking up the team's first fighting major when he got into a scrum with Springfield's Paul Thompson in front of Anthony Stolarz's net.

"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]."

Phantoms captain Colin McDonald and assistant captain Andy Miele talked before the season started about every player needing to buy in to their roles this season. It seems as though Martel has heeded the message.

"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."


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