Falcons add impact centre at deadline
The St. Catharines Falcons added centre James Eng from the Northern Ontario Junior A Hockey League. Photo by: BOB DAVIS
The St. Catharines Falcons upgraded their roster where it was most needed, picking up centre James Eng from the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Junior A Hockey League Monday at the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League trade deadline.
Eng, a 20-year-old native of Mississauga, was second in scoring on the Express with 11 goals and 21 points in 26 games.
“There were some pretty strong teams trying to secure him so we’re fortunate we were able to agree to terms with Espanola,” Falcons general manager Frank Girhiny said. “We’re pretty excited.”
Girhiny likes Eng’s skill set.
“He’s a good size body (6-foot, 170 pounds), he’s very hard on pucks, is a good skater, and can distribute the puck,” Girhiny said. “He’s a true centre which is what I was looking for.”
Girhiny said he did his due diligence researching Eng’s background.
“I’ve talked to coaches who coached him previously and they had nothing but good things to say about him,” Girhiny said. “It was obvious based on the teams that were trying to secure him — two real strong teams in the Mid-West and Hamilton in our league — that he comes with the goods.”
The Falcons, 21-5-0-1, are second in the Golden Horseshoe standings to Hamilton (23-3) and tied with Kitchener-Waterloo, who lead the Mid-West Conference, with a .796 winning percentage. The Falcons also lead the entire GOJHL in goals against.
“I believe we’re scoring lots of goals lately and defensively we’re strong and our goaltending is strong,” Girhiny said. “I really like where we are now.
“We get on pucks, we can score, and we’re tough to play against.”
The Falcons previously upgraded their back end, adding Mason Howard from the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League and Olivier Desroches from the Brock Badgers.
The Fort Erie Meteors offset the loss of sniper Antonino Pugliese to the Kitchener Rangers with the acquisition of 20-year-old Buffalo native Brendan Krawczyk from Morrisville State.
“Brendan is a skilled forward that has proven himself in this league,” Fort Erie coach/general manager Nik Passero said. “I don’t think his college experience was what he expected, and that gives us three months to get him ready to go find him a place to play and make another go at it.”
Pugliese had 18 goals and 33 points in 25 games with the Meteors. He has done well at the OHL level with four goals and seven points in 14 games.
“Losing Pugliese for the rest of the year is tough but it was the right decision for him and we wish him all the best and can’t wait to watch him succeed,” Passero said. “Brendan will come in and try to fill that hole which I believe he is capable of.”
The Kilty B’s added gritty forward Harrison Goan from the Thorold Blackhawks while the Niagara Falls Canucks last week picked up forwards Tyson Bradford and Aidan Leblanc from the Elliot Lake Red Wings of the NOJHL.
The Caledonia Corvairs added Welland native Dylan Dekoe, who was playing in the Central Canada Hockey League.
The GOJHL is on pause due to the current government restrictions in Ontario, but Girhiny believes the league will get back on the ice.
“We are 100 per cent committed to finish this. If this means we have to extend the length of our season, then we’ll do that,” Girhiny said.
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