Tough going for Lightning

| February 23, 2011

The Louisville Lightning are enduring some growing pains in the franchise’s second season.

After finishing 11-5 last season and advancing to the U.S. Open Cup title game, the Lightning are fighting for a playoff spot this season.

Those playoff hopes took a huge blow Saturday with a surprising and disappointing 11-8 loss at home to the Illinois Piasa.

The Lightning are now 6-8 with two regular season games remaining. The final game matches them against the Cincinnati Kings, a team Louisville is 0-3 agains. It would be easy to label this season as a complete disappointment, but there is more to the story. In fact, things at Mockingbird Valley Sports Complex are looking quite rosy.

When the Lightning owners and management created the franchise in 2009, there was a master plan and to be honest, it did not include such a successful debut season. Management was preparing to build something gradually and wisely. When the Lightning achieved success in season one, expectations were immediately through the roof.

I’ve spent a good deal of time around Lightning owners Wayne Estopinal and Ted Nichols, as well as general manager David Horne. The management is prepared to deal with the highs and lows of winning and losing. In fact, Nichols told me several weeks ago about the team’s strategy for the upcoming offseason, including player personnel. It’s a franchise preparing and planning for bigger and better things.

The Lightning’s eight losses have been by a combined 21 goals. The team has been in the game late in every contest except one. Players such as Adam Boyer, Mariano Gonzalez, Kolby Lacrone, Nick Judah, and others have given fans much to cheer about this season.

Although wins have been tough to get this season, the Lightning have set attendance records three times since Jan. 1. The fact that you’re reading this article is another victory for the growing franchise, as media coverage was rare during season one despite the on-field success. Wins and losses are what matter to fans, however, and fans are what matter to the team’s ownership. Rest assured that the offseason will bring exciting things for the team, which will hopefully translate to more wins in season three.

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