Junior Canadians ready to rebuild (updated with late scores)
Chris Lukey realizes he will need to be patient with the Welland Junior Canadians this season.
The rookie coach is inheriting a team coming off the worst season in organization history at 8-36-0-4 and will need time to mould a new group of players together.
“Patience is a key because we are doing a lot of development and a lot of teaching,” said Lukey, who will be assisted by former St. Catharines Falcon Daulton Leveille and long-time minor coach Craig Slack. “We’re a group from a lot of different places so it’s going to take time to gel.”
The club began training camp early in an attempt to leave no stone unturned in their search for talent.
“It’s been a long process for us. We had a great training camp and filtered a lot of kids through the last three weeks. Everything has been positive so we’re really looking forward get going now that the season is here,” he said.
Lukey said the organization finalized the roster last week.
“We really just got our team last week so we’ve only had two team practices. We’re really looking forward to settling down, getting into our systems, getting our development and doing what we have to do.”
Lukey is inheriting seven players from last season: Forwards Matt Baumann, Martin Nowysz, Chase Johnson, Brenden Morin, Phillippe Angervil, Jason Horvat and Jarret Olbruck.
Lukey named Baumann captain after speaking with the veteran forward in the off-season.
“He was one of the first guys to reach out to me in the summer who wanted to come back and be part of the rebuild,” Lukey said. “He was really excited. He’s the type of guy I can talk to and relate to easily and the guys respect him in the dressing room.”
Lukey wants his team to be defensive responsible but doesn’t like to play a boring, trap-style of hockey.
“I like to push the pace. I like to play a fast-paced game, a fast transition game. I like to attack. I don’t like to sit back and wait for a mistake. I’d rather make mistakes on our terms.”
The Junior Canadians added a couple of forwards last week — Dario Tesoro and Adam Morgan — Lukey believes will be impact players.
“Dario was in Peterborough Petes training camp and we were fortunate enough to pick him up and Adam Morgan is a big offensive winger we brought in.”
The back end is all new including former Fort Erie Meteor Chris Morris.
Former St. Thomas Star Kevin Linker and A.J. Scala, formerly of the Port Dover Sailors, will handle the goaltending duties.
Lukey likes the team’s blend of experience and youth.
“For us it was a matter of having a good mix. We couldn’t be too young, we weren’t going to take a whole lot of older players.
“I really like the mix we have.”
The Junior Canadians began the regular season with a 5-2 loss to the St. Thomas Stars Friday at the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase Tournament in Pelham.
Welland trailed 1-0 after one period and 4-2 after two.
Josh DiFrancesco and Brandon Stocjecvski scored for the Junior Canadians who were out-shot 50-27.
Ryan Brown, Christian Froese, Colton Wiacek, Brock Trichilo and Cole Kimble scoured for the Stars.
Cambridge 7 Thorold 2
The Thorold Blackhawks, sporting new maroon and gold colours, dropped their season opener to the Cambridge Redhawks.
Dylan Scriver and Trevor Neumann scored for Thorold.
Joey Warywoda paced Cambridge with two goals and two assists. Austin Maietta, Jacob Coulson, Nolan Forster, Andrew Cassanta and Joseph Franzin added singles.
Cambridge out-shot Thorold 49-34.
Hamilton 3 Komoka 2
The Hamilton Kilty B’s edged the Komoka Kings 3-2 behind a pair of goals from Christian Pelley.
Justin Monteith also scored for the winners.
Dario Beljo and Cameron Welch replied for the Kings.
St. Catharines 4 Waterloo 1
The St. Catharines Falcons got off on the right foot with a 4-1 victory over the defending Sutherland Cup champion Waterloo Siskins.
Carson Edwardson and Xavier Drummond scored two goals each while newcomer Curtis Egert added a pair of helpers.
Ty Anselmini replied for the Siskins.
Blair Coffin went the first two periods in goal for the Falcons and turned back 13 of 14 shots. Ethan Cook finished up and made five saves.
London 7 Pelham 0
The London Nationals dominated the host Pelham Panthers 7-0.
Jacob Chantler, Josh LeBlanc, Josh Castle, Michael Boushy, Griffen Sinden, Evan Ilkos and Max Vinogradov scored.
Devyn Clark made 17 saves for the shutout.
Strathroy 4 Buffalo 3 2OT
Ian Babenko scored in double overtime to give the Rockets the victory.
Ben Diamond, Riley Wood and Bayly Fryfogle added singles.
Brandan Krawczyk, Griffin Green and Jeremy Ienco replied for the Regals.
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