It’s early, but Morrisburg Junior Lions coach, Mark Evans says, “we have had a respectable showing and have some good potential.”
The Lions were on Finch ice this past weekend for their main camp which included ice time on both Friday and Sunday nights and a pre-season game against the Char-Lan Rebels, Saturday night. Although the Lions led the Rebels 2-0, the Rebels charged back for a 9-3 win.
Evans says he went with about 95 percent first year players and wasn’t disappointed with what he saw.
“I am very positive with what I have seen so far. We are hovering around eight to nine veterans, and everyone is excited about the season.”
With the mood very “upbeat”, Evans says the Lions will start the season where they left off last year, steadily improving and becoming more competitive in the St. Lawrence Division.
The Lions were to be on the ice two hours last night (Tuesday, September 9) in Finch, and Evans was expecting that Lions General manager Kevin Casselman would be signing some players by the end of this week.
Goaltending he says is looking good. “We had nine goaltenders in camp, and we have narrowed it down to four.”
Evans says John Gilmour is the familiar face from last year, and he is taking a serious look at the other three, some of whom have come to the Lions camp via A clubs.
In addition to talent in goal, Evans says the defensive line up is looking solid with a good mix of experienced veterans and new players.
“I am really happy with what I have seen so far. We have released some who were young that we felt would best benefit from playing midget for another year. We are pretty thick with defense actually. Cole Blanchard and Steven Savage are both back, and we have some defencemen in camp who played as affiliates last year.”
Evans says the defence lineup shows good mix of size and speed and “they all have good puck moving skills”.
Currently in the forward lineup, the coaching staff is looking at different line combinations, “to see what we can come up with, from the returning players and new players.”
“We haven’t signed any overage players yet, but Justin Lefevbre and Dallas Blacksmith are both in camp.”
Evans says the Lions are not in a hurry to fill the four overage cards. “The junior As are still going to manoeuvre, so there are still options, and we won’t fill all of our cards right now.”
Overall Evans says he is happy with the players currently in camp. “We are going to come up with a talented lineup,” certainly, “we are going to start higher than we finished last year. We have a good mix of young kids and veterans.”
Evans also points out there is a good crop of local players from the South Dundas and South Stormont Minor Hockey systems in camp.
The Lions have three exhibition games scheduled to be played in Finch this weekend. Friday night, September 12 they will meet the Akwesasne Wolves at 7 p.m., and on Saturday night they will play the Brockville Tikis. Game time is 5 p.m.
Their fifth pre-season game will be played Sunday night starting at 7 p.m. against Char-Lan.
They are scheduled for their first home-ice practise next Tuesday, September 16 beginning at 8 p.m.
The Lions will open the 2014-15 season on the road to Alexandria, Friday night, September 19 at 8:15 p.m. and will host the Winchester Hawks for their first home game on Saturday night, September 20 at 7:30 p.m.
With the exception of just one or two Friday nights, the Lions will be playing their home games on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons this year.