The puck dropped on another season of boys’ hockey at EDSS on Tuesday, and with only six returning players from last year’s squad, the team doesn’t have much time to get acquainted.
The team will play 12 games this season, including five more between now and Christmas against some of the toughest teams in the league.
“We’re really excited about the season,” said coach Adam Hiller following the Lancers’ season-opening victory over Sir John A. MacDonald at the Woolwich Memorial Centre Nov. 23. “We’re a relatively new team, so we didn’t know what to expect coming into this first game and into the season.”
The coach should be pleased with the team’s opening performance. After falling behind 3-0, the Lancers stormed back to win it 5-4, with Sean McEwan scoring the winner on the powerplay with 5:39 left in the game.
“It shows that we have a lot of character in the room to come back and win,” said the coach.
The team held four tryout sessions over the past three Mondays, with about 150 players coming out. Hiller said it was difficult to trim the roster down to 18, but is happy with the players he has.
“We’re an older team,” he said, noting that the majority of the players are Grade 11s and Grade 12s, “we have good size, which should help. There are a lot of guys who can throw the body around, (and) it’s important in high school hockey to get the checking going early.”
Hiller also said that most of the guys on the team have experience playing in Woolwich or the surrounding area. In fact, he said that the top line of McEwan, Reid Denstedt and Garret Bender have played together on the same team, so Hiller kept them on a line to try and generate some early chemistry.
“We’ve got a good (defence) this year, strong goaltending, and hopefully our lines can mesh and create some goals,” said Hiller. “Judging by today, they have meshed pretty well.”
After a disappointing quarterfinals playoff loss to Huron Heights last season, Hiller said his aim – along with fellow coach Rob Harvey – is for the team to make the playoffs again and see what happens from there.
“Make the playoffs, because anything can happen once you’re in the playoffs.”