NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE: Jackalopes’ Coon working to become more consistent player

Lucas Coon isn’t satisfied about where he’s at.

Yet, the Odessa Jackalopes’ forward has plenty of confidence that he’s about to hit his stride.

The only thing that’s standing in his way is being able to perform well on a consistent basis.

So far this year, the Steamboat Springs, Co. native has scored two goals with one assist through 10 games in the 2020-21 season.

 “I’m not happy with the start but I’ve been playing a little better lately. It’s a step in the right direction. I’m going to work on playing with consistency and keep building.”

His last goal came against Lone Star on Dec. 17 in which his second period score gave the Jackalopes the lead as they eventually won 2-1 in overtime.

That performance has given him momentum as the Jackalopes currently sit in third place in the North American Hockey League South Division standings with a 6-6-2 record with 14 points.

Coon has been critical of his preparation this season, saying that it could be better.

“It’s just getting my legs going,” Coon said. “It’s how much preparation I put into the game. I got a little lazy in previous games but I thought I played the right way (Dec. 17). I have to work on the 60-minute piece.”

Of course, it hasn’t helped that Coon entered the season coming off a sprained ankle injury that kept him sidelined for three months and set him back.

“I felt like I was playing catch-up,” he said. “Now I’m more comfortable and I feel like I’ve been playing well and getting better and better each game.”

Coon says his ankle is still not 100 percent but that it feels alright to be playing on.

Odessa head coach Jason Fortier says Coon’s speed is his biggest attribute to the club.

“When he’s playing physical, he’s a force,” Fortier said. “He has to be consistent and remember to play with that consistent edge every night but when he does that, he’s tremendous.”

Coon has already committed to the Air Force Academy and plans to play there after next season, saying that he promised to play two years of junior league hockey before joining the academy.

“I committed to the Air Force in my senior year of high school,” Coon said. “This is my first year and I’m going to play another year of junior and then head to the academy and hopefully play some professional hockey if I’m lucky enough.”

Becoming a pilot remains the main goal, saying that his uncle helped spark his interest in aviation while growing up.

“My uncle got me into it,” Coon said. “He was in the Army and I got to tour an Army base. He wanted to be a pilot but didn’t have the vision for it so he planted that seed of interest in my head. Hockey gave me the window of opportunity to take that career path.”

Yet as Coon continues to develop and try to find that consistency, he’ll still be happy as long as his team continues to find a way to win.

“I just want to help my team win every night,” Coon said. “You have to make hits and plays and have an impact on the game every night.”

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAmichaelba