Another Junior B season is set to open in Morrisburg this Sunday, September 16 when coach Dan Frawley and his Lions entertain the Winchester Hawks in a 2:30 p.m. match.
The Lions open the 2012-13 season on the road Friday night, September 14 when they visit the Alexandria Glens at the Glengarry Sports Palace. Then on Sunday, local fans will get their first look at this year’s Lions.
Coach Frawley says the Lions are coming off a good camp, and he is looking forward to a good season. Returning to the bench with Frawley are last year’s coach Thom Racine and assistant coach Herbie Sequin, both as assistant coaches.
Also returning to the Lions lineup are goaltenders Mikel Dion and Ryan Cooper.
“Mikel gives us solid experience as a veteran and Cooper is young and is developing,” says Frawley.
Dion is also one of the four 21 year old players signed to Lions cards. The others are Curtis Pilon who played last year for the Westport Rideaus and returning Lions Chris Rutley and Sylvester Bzdyl. Also returning is veteran Clark Veenstra.
Frawley is counting on Pilon to provide some experience on the blue line and as Lions’ fans know, Rutley and Bzdyl have been the team’s key scorers. “We are expecting leadership and production from them.”
According to Frawley, approximately 40 hopefuls were out to the Lions pre-season camp, most of which consisted of exhibition games.
The Lions opened with a 5-0 loss to Alexandria on Saturday, September 1 then backed that with a pair of wins 6-4 over South Grenville and 10-9 over Char-Lan. They lost to Casselman 6-4 and then collected an 8-1 victory in a rematch with the Rebels.
Frawley points out you can’t take much from the exhibition game results as, “Our philosophy was to give everyone a chance to play.”
As well their opponents were looking over their prospects.
Frawley says he is happy to have a good crop of local talent on board. Returning are Sam and Ty Hodgson of Morrisburg. In addition he has added Brian Van Moorsel who played much of his minor hockey with the Kings organization and last year played midget for South Dundas.
Dillon Lapier and Dylan DeJong, both products of the South Dundas system, are also on board along with Dylan Casselman of Williamsburg, who took a break after finishing minor hockey with the Kings and now, as a 20 year old, brings maturity to the squad.
Casselman and Eric Evans of Long Sault were two pleasant surprises at the camp. “They weren’t expected and really weren’t on our radar. Both are bigger boys and both skate well. They should provide us with some good solid depth.”
Also catching the coach’s eye and signed to a 16 year old card is Grant Cooper, who Frawley says has good size and really impressed us.
“We have a fair number of returnees and our main thought was to get more size,” says Frawley. “I think we have a good mix of veterans. “We’ve signed quite a few and all indications are that they are excited at the new approach for the year. We also have a fair number of kids still in camp.”
Frawley says “we’ve gotten bigger on defence. We should be fast and physical.”
As the newcomer to the bench, Frawley says he is going to rely on his assistant coaches Sequin and Racine for help.
“I’ve told the boys it’s a clean slate. I’m new to the league and I’m going to count on their help.”
Game time Sunday is 2:30 p.m.