NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013
2013-14 Team Previews: Elliot Lake Bobcats
SUDBURY – Among the three Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League clubs set to make their 2013-14 regular season debuts on home ice Friday, the Elliot Lake Bobcats are a team looking to build off a solid second half and intense playoff series that went the distance from the previous campaign and a deep exhibition schedule that helped them formulate their opening night roster.
In this, the fourth of the NOJHL team-by-team previews, we look at a few on the ingredients the Elliot Lake squad is banking on for success.
Set to embark in their second year in the league, the Bobcats commence regular season action Friday evening as they welcome the Blind River Beavers to Centennial Arena for a 7:30 p.m. start.
The two sides met once in exhibition play in last week’s Cottage Cup preseason tourney held in Elliot Lake.
That back-and-forth affair saw the Beavers pull-out a 3-2 triumph in overtime.
In all the Bobcats took to the ice in six games heading into the season opener finishing with a 1-4-1 record.
One of the number of bright spots for Elliot Lake in exhibition play was forward Aviv Milner, who topped the team in points with eight on four goals and as many assists.
The Montreal native is a crafty play maker who toiled with the Hudson Crusaders of the Minnesota Jr. Hockey League last season averaging well over a point-per-game with 45 in 32 games, including a dozen tallies.
“We’ll continue to look for his speed and offensive ability to score and put points on the board,” said Bobcats owner, general manager and head coach Ryan Leonard.
Another newcomer in Andrew Plushaj also had a positive preseason picking up seven points with his six tallies leading all NOJHL skaters.
Meanwhile a foursome of returning players in Kyle Rowe, Dustin Cordeiro, Brad Holman and John Waghorne are veterans that Leonard expects big things from.
“Kyle Rowe was given the captain’s “C” around Christmas and is back bringing his leadership, size and skill will help mature the group,” offered the Bobcats bench boss.
As for Cordeiro, he found the back on the net four times in exhibition action and added an assist along the way.
“Dustin was a young ‘95 last year, who ended up helping lead the team down the stretch both on the score sheet and along the boards,” replied Leonard when giving input on Cordeiro.
Holman also returns for a second year with the Bobcats and third campaign in the NOJHL.
“Brad brings strong leadership and an attitude to play big in meaningful games and is expected put up good numbers once again this year.”
For a third season in Elliot Lake, towering defencemen John Waghorne will once again bolster the club’s defensive corps.
When giving insight on Waghorne, Leonard says; “He’s a very popular player amongst his teammates and brings the will to learn every night.”
Between the pipes the Bobcats will rely on a pair of 20-year-old netminders to carry the work load in goal.
Brandon Currie, obtained in the off-season from Blind River and Etienne Roy who finished 2012-13 with Drumheller of the Alberta Junior A Hockey league are the pair expected to see the majority of playing time in net.
Among the other new faces to watch will be defenceman Max Glashauser.
The Flower Mount, Texas product is a 1994-born, six-foot-one-inch, 190-pound blueliner who played for the Dallas Ice Jets of the Western State Hockey League picking up 28 points in 34 outings. He had three in the Cottage Cup.
“We look forward to utilizing his speed and vision on the ice this season especially on the power play,” added Leonard.
Then there is another newcomer to Centennial Arena ice this season in 20-year-old Centennial, Colo., native Brett Wagner, who recorded seven points in the preseason contests.
He competed in the North American Hockey League a year ago seeing action with both the Wanatchee and Odessa.
“Our team will look for his scoring touch and his work ethic to help be leader both on and off the ice this season.”
A roster with only three players that did not have junior hockey experience heading into Friday’s opener, Leonard is cautiously optimistic in his charges.
“We are looking to pick-up where the team finished off last year and bring a winning team back to Elliot Lake,” stated the face of the franchise.
“With the loyal fan support behind them the team hopes to do big things in Elliot Lake.”
After Friday’s game against Beavers the Bobcats return the favour by heading to Blind River Saturday for their home opener at the Community Centre. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.