Just starting their season last week with two home games, the EDSS boys’ hockey team has opened with a win and a loss.
At home on Dec. 1 the Lancers defeated Forest Heights Collegiate Institute 5-3. Elmira goals came from Alex Turchan, Tyson Bolender, Cade Schaus, Colby Bond and Tyler Martin.
Last year the Elmira team made it to the playoff game before the quarterfinals which is an elimination to see who gets into the quarterfinals. They ended up losing to Preston High School.
It’s very early in the season but coach Dave Munroe is expecting the team to build from last year.
“It was the first game of the year, so obviously there’s still lots to work on. But overall I thought they played pretty well. Again, we only had two practices with our full team after making our cuts to really go over anything. So for the most part I thought they played pretty well,” Munroe said.
About 30 players came out to tryouts, which were cut down to 17 to make the team. Munroe notes that’s the worst part of coaching.
The team is made of a few returning players, but there are a lot of new faces on the bench.
“Overall it’s actually a relatively old team this year. So rookies, but a lot of fifth-year guys that may have played in Woolwich last year but now they’d be the Juvenile age so they’re eligible to play high school hockey,” Munroe said.
He thinks the experience should help the team fare well against other teams with younger players. He also says goalie Connor Duench will be a great asset to the team. Duench played up with the Elmira Sugar Kings for two games.
“He played up with them prior to the season and that’s the thing, once the season starts he’s not able to play up with them anymore. But their other goalie came back and he’s playing Juvenile which makes him eligible to play high school hockey. He decided again to come out for our team, so that’ll help a lot because he’s definitely one of the better goalies in the league,” Munroe said.
He says they’ll lean heavily on him in net this year. He notes defenseman Colby Bond has experience playing AAA hockey and will be somebody they’ll rely on in the back end. And a handful of their fifth year forwards should be tough to play against due to their size and speed.
At practice this week they’ve been getting used to their systems and playing with new teammates.
“Just working on some things like the forecheck and D zone where they’re supposed to be and supporting the puck, and things like that. A lot of the skills are already there with guys, especially this age. It’s more making sure everybody’s on the same page with the power play we want to run or the PK or the forecheck, things like that,” Munroe said.
The team lost a close one 2-1 to Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School at the WMC on Dec. 6. Jake Lewis scored for Elmira. They’re off to face Huron Heights Secondary School today, Dec. 8, followed by Bluevale Collegiate Institute on Dec. 13 and Preston High School on Dec. 15. Their next home game is Dec. 20 versus Waterloo Collegiate Institute at 2:30 at the Dan Snyder Arena.
Munroe said a realistic goal for the team is to finish top-three in WCSSAA this season.
“I think as long as things go well throughout the season that we should be able to make it hopefully to the semifinals, and the finals at the end of the year.