Junior B Athletics exceeding expectations
The St. Catharines WMKL Athletics junior B squad are riding high.
The A’s carry an 11-game winning streak into Saturday’s home game versus the Wallaceburg Red Devils after modest expectations to begin the season.
A’s general manager Joe Wormald is thrilled with how the season has unfolded on the floor.
“They definitely have gone a lot better than expected when we went into it,” Wormald said. “From the first conversations we had we thought if we end up .500 we would consider it a successful season.”
The A’s, in their first season affiliated with the Junior A Athletics, stumbled out of the gate with just one win in their first five games.
The club then picked up Justin Porga and Max Brook from the Welland Generals and haven’t lost since.
“We’ve been on a great run since we made the trade with Welland,” Wormald said. “Their veteran presence is helping out on offence and it’s provided us with stability and leadership on the floor and off.
“It’s kind of wild.”
Porga, a 20-year-old Welland native, has 21 goals and 40 points in 10 games for the A’s while Brook has 10 goals and 14 points in eight games in double blue.
The A’s sit in third place in the Western Conference with four games remaining in the regular season.
“We were planning on ending up in the bottom eight and hoping to crack the eighth playoff spot, especially after the first four or five games,” Wormald said. “We needed to reevaluate and see where we were. We made some adjustments, made the trade, and now we have a chance to make it past the first round and not just get into the playoffs.
“The end goal is to always to get to the final and the Founders (Cup). You never want to throw those words around because you don’t want to jinx yourself. Things are going very well now and we’re optimistic about the playoffs.”
Wormald indicated the affiliation with the Junior A’s is working out well. Transition player Nathan Fehr, a 17-year-old Niagara Falls native, recently signed with the Junior A’s after starting the season at the junior B level.
“It’s been definitely nice,” he said. “We’ve had a few players who have played the majority of the games with the A’s. “We set our goal from the start to push players to junior A. If we lose a player to junior A then we’ve done our job.
“It’s been a great relationship so far.”
The A’s host the Red Devils Saturday at 7 p.m. before welcoming Owen Sound Sunday at 4 p.m. Both games are at Canada Games Park.
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