Blackhawks set in net
The Thorold Blackhawks are in good hands in goal with Anthony Tremonte.
The 18-year-old Thorold native proved he could play in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League last season, tending net for 35 games and posting a 3.73 goals-against average.
Tremonte is back again this season, more confident than ever and banking on a big season.
“I played a lot of games and now I come in each game knowing what to expect and know that I belong here and that I proved myself here,” the Denis Morris graduate said. “You really feel like you have more control of the game.”
Tremonte and the Hawks begin the 2018/19 season Thursday when they host the Lockport Regals at Thorold Arena.
Thorold head coach/owner Scott Barnes has the utmost faith in Tremonte.
“There were a lot of people who thought we needed an upgrade in the goaltending department. I thought as a 17-year-old playing 35 games, he was just getting his feet wet,” Barnes said.
“He has figured out the league and figured out the shooters. I think he’s set up to have more success this year and we’ve surrounded him with maybe a better overall defensive unit.”
Tremonte, Kitchener’s fourth-round selection in the 2017 Ontario Hockey League draft, admitted it’s a steep learning curve going from minor midget to junior.
“You build confidence and you also learn the ups and downs of the season,” he said. “It’s a long season. It’s different from minor hockey. You’re going to go through different swings and this and that. You have to keep working and keep motivated to be ready for the playoffs.”
Tremonte has high expectations not only for himself this season, but also for the Blackhawks.
“I’m excited. I think we have a good team and a good group of guys who are going to mesh well in the room,” he said. “I think everyone will come together well and have good talent.
“I’m excited to see what happens.”
Tremonte is taking a year off of school. He was accepted at Western, but is going to concentrate solely on hockey for now.
“I think it will help tremendously. You can think of hockey all the time and not worry about deadlines or school. You have more time to focus at the rink.
“I’m looking to go to school and get it paid for. That’s the goal right now.”
Tremonte will share time between the pipes with rookie Chase Grsic, who played minor midget in Hamilton last season.
“I think it will be good. We can feed off each other,” Tremonte said. “I can learn from him, he can learn from me. I can be a mentor to him and establish a leadership role this year. I think it will help me to help him.”
Grsic is slated to start the first two games of the season while Tremonte heals up from a minor injury.
Barnes is hoping the Hawks, who have a dozen players back from last season, can get off to a quick start.
“I think we want to start playing the right way,” Barnes said. “From Day 1 in practice, we’ve been trying to sell the right work habits.
“You hope to get some early results and get off to a good start and get rolling, but it’s really about getting guys acclimatized to the league.”
Notable newcomers include Niagara IceDogs draft pick Michael Craig, as well as forwards Jonah Devereux from Fort Erie, Nick Rubino from Welland, Sam VanderZalm from Niagara-on-the-Lake and Cam Lightfoot from Southhampton.
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