If there were a formula for creating a defence pairing, William Lagesson and Logan Day have discovered it.
The alchemy is a perfect blend of ingredients: A lefty and righty, size and skill, a defence-first philosophy and offensive impulse, sprinkled with some parts protection, production, comfort and confidence.
There’s chemistry in the Lagesson-Day duo away from the rink and on it. The Condors blueliners have been fixtures of the back end this season and are finding their friendship is a catalyst for a positive reaction on the ice – individually and as a collective.
“He has been a good friend from the start,” said Lagesson, sitting in the lower bowl of Rabobank Arena. “If you click outside the rink, that helps on the ice, too. That’s a huge part of it. That and having good communication.”
As a group, the success speaks for itself. The Condors are on a 12-game winning spree – a new franchise record – and idle in first place of the Pacific Division after downing the San Jose Barracuda then San Diego Gulls in consecutive outings.
Individually, Day is third in rookie defence scoring in the American Hockey League with five goals and 27 points. His 22 assists are also the second-most among rookie blueliners.
Lagesson has already established a new career-high in points in his second pro season. The Swede’s three-point effort on Saturday versus the Gulls brought him to four goals and 17 points in 45 games, four more than he had all of last year with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Elite League.
The two have a combined 43 points on the year and are fully convinced of the science behind their success.
“I think it’s huge,” said Day. “It goes back to our team. That’s why all of us are so close, because of our time off-ice together.
“I think it’s a good balance for us because I have more of an offensive mindset and I think I can help him in the offensive zone. He has a more defensive mindset, so when I’m in the defensive zone, if need be I can lean on him a little bit.”
Day was challenged by Assistant Coach Dave Manson defensively earlier in the campaign, and Lagesson has helped with that part of his game.
“I can be like, ‘I need a little help with this guy (in the defensive zone),'” Day, the former Endicott College defenceman, said of Lagesson. “We know where each other will be.”
Lagesson’s believed to own more offensive upside, which is only improving alongside Day.
“He’s a really good offensive Dman,” Lagesson said, “so playing with him you see what he’s doing and can learn.”
Over the Condors’ 12-game stretch, the club has outscored their opposition 56-23. Lagesson and Day have made an impact on both sides of the ice during the streak, accruing 17 points combined and going plus-16.
“They are two excellent hockey players for us,” Condor Head Coach Jay Woodcroft began. “William’s been a good complement to Logan. The growth in his game has also been a fantastic storyline.
“And what a find for this organization to find Logan Day out of Division III college hockey. To see the growth in his game working under the tutelage of Dave Manson and learning how to defend in a man’s league has been excellent.”
Manson said there were no setbacks when he first paired Lagesson and Day together, which isn’t always the case for defensive units. He attributes that to fluidity throughout the lineup, relying on a structure that allows each of the defenders to perform the same way no matter who they man the blueline with.
Both Lagesson and Day agreed with their defence coach, saying they haven’t experienced any real challenges as partners. Since their first shift on the ice together, the chemistry has continued to brew.
As a result of their friendship, though, Day did have one knock on Lagesson.
“I would bust his chops for not knowing English very well,” he laughed.