Lincolns playing two exhibition games against Komoka Kings this weekend
By Pat Payton
The Independent has learned that the OHA has postponed the annual season-opening GOJHL Showcase.
The 2018 event was scheduled to be held in St. Catharines this weekend, Sept. 7-9, but only exhibition games were going to be played. Other years, all teams played two cross-over games against teams from the other two conferences and they counted in the regular-season standings.
“The OHA has stated that if all 25 (GOJHL) teams don’t participate in the same Showcase, they’re not going to host a Showcase,” St. Marys Lincolns’ assistant GM Greg Smale told the newspaper last week.
Smale said only 18 of the league teams were going to be competing in St. Catharines. The other seven teams refused to pay the entry fee to participate in the Showcase.
“Seven other teams were going to do their own little Showcase in Pelham,” Smale said. “If all 25 teams are not taking part in it, the OHA has said that they’re not sanctioning it. They won’t provide referees.
“It’s been postponed right now to a later date. They said they were going to move it to another date.”
Lincs’ coach Trent McClement wasn’t too upset that the Showcase was cancelled this weekend.
“In a sense, the Showcase was kind of scaring me,” McClement said. “They were going to be exhibition games anyway, and you would hate to go down there and play meaningless games where you could get guys hurt.”
Lincs playing Komoka this weekend
With the GOJHL Showcase postponed and possibly cancelled this year, teams are now scheduling exhibition games for this coming weekend.
Lincolns are one of those teams, scheduling a pair of games against Komoka Kings. The teams play Saturday, Sept. 8 in Komoka and Sunday, Sept. 9 in St. Marys. Both games are slated for 7:30 p.m.
Without adding the two games against the Kings, Lincs would have had a long 16-day stretch between their last exhibition game (Aug. 28 in Waterloo) and their Western Conference season opener in Leamington on Thursday, Sept. 13. Lincolns’ home opener is the next night when LaSalle Vipers come to town for a 7:30 p.m. face-off.
Butchart emerging leader
In Waterloo on Aug. 28, Lincs’ pre-season record slipped to 2-3 when they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Midwestern Conference Siskins.
Waterloo’s Sam Spaedt scored with just 57 seconds to play, snapping a 3-3 tie.
Blair Butchart, Lakin Hendry and Michael Angelimi scored for the Lincolns, who held 2-1 and 3-2 leads. The teams were deadlocked 3-3 going into the final 20 minutes.
“I thought we competed well,” coach McClement reported. “Waterloo came pretty much with their full roster and they’re a team that’s suppose to win their (conference). I thought we adapted to them pretty well.”
Overall, Siskins out-shot the Lincs 36-21. Goalie Justin Richer had another solid game for St. Marys.
McClement noted that veteran centre Butchart also played a strong game.
“When we have Blair in our line-up, our young kids look up to him and kind of mimic what he’s doing on the ice,” he said. “With him putting in that kind of effort, it’s going to increase the effort of our entire team as a whole. When we brought him in, that’s what we wanted him to be and that’s a leader, same as (Tanner) Hertel and (Jake) Weston. We want these kids to set examples for the younger kids.
“We want to be a team that works hard every night and we want to be a hard team to play against.”
Jr. hockey notebook:
–Lincolns had five signed players attend OHL camps last week: Goalie Kyle Curtin and forward Carter Schoonderwoerd (Peterborough), forward Griffin Wilson (Owen Sound), Quinton Pepper (Guelph) and Carson McMillan (North Bay).
All players have returned to the Lincs except Wilson, who is apparently signing with Owen Sound. “It’s 95 per cent that he’s going to stay (with the Attack); they were negotiating a school package,” Greg Smale said this past weekend.
The 17-year-old Wilson, who hails from Elora, was a member of the Huron-Perth Major Midgets last season.
–Owen Sound announced last Thursday the signing of recently-acquired right winger Kaleb Pearson (from Flint Firebirds) to an OHL Standard Player Agreement.
The 18-year-old St. Marys native spent the 2017-18 season with the GOJHL’s Stratford Warriors, collecting 39 goals and 67 points in 49 regular-season games. He added 12 points in 10 playoff games. Selected to the OHA’s Top Prospects team last season, Pearson was awarded Midwestern Conference Rookie-of-the-Year honours.
Pearson dressed for 15 games with the Lincs, including four in the playoffs, during the 2016-17 season.