There are a few times in every team’s history where a full roster just seems to come together. Years of drafts picks and scouting seem to pay off. Coaches direct. Players gel. Goalies become brick walls.
This year could turn into just that for the Kingston Frontenacs. A historical year where everything just goes right. After going through a rebuilding year that only amassed 19 wins, the Frontenacs picked up 24 picks in 2012’s OHL draft. Those picks have become almost a full roster. A roster of players centered around a core of three; two forwards and a defenceman. 3 U18 World Champions.
Defenceman Roland McKeown was selected second overall in the 2012 OHL Priority draft. At 6’1”, he is a towering presence on the blue line; a Drew Doughty type player if you will. Collecting 29 points in 61 games, he was named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team. Now entering his second year with the black and gold he will enter with a gold medal under his belt after winning with U18 Team Canada back in April of this year. International competition experience can never hurt.
Left winger Sam Bennett has an incredible eye for hockey. His hockey sense is what makes his game excel. Sharing his rookie year with McKeown, Bennett notched 40 points in 60 games leading him to be a part of the OHL Second All-Rookie Team. He not only comes into his second year with an U18 gold medal; he comes in with two. Within four months he’s been an U18 World Champion twice.
Then there’s Spencer Watson. An explosive and dynamite forward from London, Ontario. A sharp shooter with a keen eye for knowing just where to put the puck. He led the U18 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in scoring for Team Canada while capturing his own gold medal.
All three players have had one year of playing time together to get used to each other on the ice and started to really gel at the end of last season. With Bennett and Watson playing on one Team Canada squad while McKeown and Bennett played on the other, there’s no reason to not expect exciting things from these three once the puck drops in September.
With Coach Todd Gill entering his third season and his second with the boys, they will already know what to expect from each other. I won’t be surprised to see a long post season run in the Limestone City. It’s time for optimism.
Get ready Ontario Hockey League. The Frontenacs are back to prominence.
The 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament opened up with exhibition games on Saturday in Piestany, Slovakia. The crowd was in for a treat at Zimny Stadion as Kingston Frontanacs forward Spencer Watson put on a dazzling display to help Team Canada secure its first exhibition win.
Watson opened the scoring eight minutes into the first period with help from Jake Virtanen and Ryan Pilon. The first period proved to be all Canada as 5 minutes later Oshawa Generals forward Michael Dal Colle added another. Up 2-0 heading into the second period, the Canadians were putting on a show.
The Slovakians however, had something to say about that. Four minutes into the second period, Ladislav Romancik cut the Canadians lead in half and it seemed that they were going to make a game of it. Team Canada seemed to not stay out of the penalty box as they took two early on.
Spencer Watson sealed the deal for Canada in the third period as he notched his second of the game. Dal Colle picked up another assist to the goal adding to both players impressive first game performance. Julio Billia and Mason MacDonald shared both goaltending duties stopping 17 shots. Slovakia was out shot as the Canadians threw 50 at their net minder.
Team Canada’s next exhibition game will take place this coming Monday, August 5th as the Czechs welcome into their city of Breclev. Czech Republic should give the Canadians a bit more trouble this time around.
Hockey Canada announced its final roster for the upcoming 2013 U18 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament and all three Kingston Frontenacs selections have made the final roster.
This year’s tournament, also known as the U18 World Cup, will take place at the beginning of August in Breclav, Czech Republic and Pietsany, Slovakia. Team Canada has been dominant coming home with gold the past 5 years. This year’s team is ready to make it 6. They open up the tournament with their first exhibition game August 3rd against host nation Slovakia.
Roland McKeown, Sam Bennett and Spencer Watson impressed the Team Canada brass at exhibition games over the past few days. The games showcased the best the Canadian Hockey League has to offer. Watson exploded in the 3rd period with 2 goals in Saturday night’s game and added 2 assists Monday afternoon. All three showcased there tremendous skills and hockey sense to help the big red machine as they head to the Czech Republic.
Upon returning to North America, all three will suit up into the black and gold of the Kingston Frontenacs as training camp opens up on August 29th. Pumped and still in hockey mode, the three will be eager to get back on Ontario Hockey League ice. The Frontenacs will be a strong team this year and will be looking to make a long trip into the post-season.
Team Canada’s roster also includes hard shooting Aaron Ekblad from the Barrie Colts and another strong forward Jared McCann from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. 2014 will shape up to exciting draft year.