By Pat Payton
Just prior to their huge game against Strathroy Rockets tonight (Friday, Feb. 9) at 7:30 p.m., St. Marys Lincolns are honouring members of the 1984-85 St. Marys team which captured the Western League playoff championship.
That memorable spring, Lincs defeated Dickie Robinson and the London Diamonds (now nicknamed the Nationals) in the best-of-seven final — four games to two.
In a packed house on the night of Friday, March 8, 1985, Lincs clinched the title with a 4-2 home-ice win. An estimated 2,400 fans jammed into the PRC to watch a hard-fought game. The late John Rowland scored twice to lead St. Marys to victory over a bitter rival.
Players on that Lincolns team included: Don Grasby, Scott Luce, Jeff Shipley, Jeff Warren, John Kernick, Paul Kalbfleisch, Scott Eccles, Steve Nelson, Phil Carter, Sean Clifford, Rob Mackie, Lonnie Loach, Tony Crisp, Dave Doyon, Bill Zufelt, Scott Bodenham, Nick Varvitsiotis, Pat Jackson, John Rowland, Denis Roy and Pete Bodenham.
Jeff Van Vliet and Scott Graham were the Lincs’ coaches, the late Angie Nigro and Rick Bradford were the managers, and Mike Bannerman, the late Ken Bailey and David Kunder were the trainers.
Executive members included: Bruce Graham, the late Jack O’Rourke, Grant Guymer, Jim Sealey, Pat Payton, Tim Van Oosterhout, Doug Kennedy, Ken Brunsdon, George Shrubsole, Rob Staffen and Ron Lindsay.
–Prior to last Friday night’s game against Sarnia, forward Mitch Bakker was named Lincolns’ player-of-the-month for January. The award is sponsored by Orr Insurance.
The 18-year-old Bakker, from Aylmer, has seven points in his last five games.
–Lincs’ defenceman Jake Weston is playing his best hockey of the season right now. The just-turned 17-year-old Thorndale area native scored in back-to-back games last weekend (including the winner against Sarnia) and is playing a ton of minutes.
“Weston has been playing really well for us,” St. Marys coach Scott Thompson said. “He’s coming through for us.”
Thompson also praised goalie Evan Morrison for posting back-to-back wins against Leamington and Sarnia last week. Morrison, 17, hails from the Belleville area.
Another Lincoln who has caught fire in recent weeks is Ben Maidment. The big 19-year-old winger from Cambridge has five goals and an assist in his last five games.
–Lincolns’ leading scorer Dalton Bancroft has at least one point in his last six games. After 32 games, the 16-year-old Madoc native has 16 goals and 31 points.
Last Friday night, a Saginaw scout said Bancroft has to build leg strength and add some “foot speed” in order to play in the OHL next season.
–Lincolns continue a busy month of February, starting tonight (Feb. 9). Including their huge game against Strathroy, Lincs still have nine regular-season games to play this month–six of them at home–as they battle to secure a playoff spot.
For the record, St. Marys is 3-1-2 in its last six games, dating back to Jan. 20.
–Worth repeating. Lincolns took five of a possible six points on Leamington ice this season. In their three games on the big ice at the Kinsmen Recreation Centre, Lincs won 3-2 in overtime, lost 4-3 in overtime, and won 4-3 in overtime. Flyers currently have a 15-3-1-3 record on home ice this season.