Management gets high marks for icing solid squad in 2019-20
By Pat Payton
It’s time to give credit where credit is due!
St. Marys Lincolns’ General Manager Greg Smale, head coach Trent McClement, and the rest of the coaching and scouting staff get high marks for the GOJHL team they’ve put on the ice this fall. It’s easily the best Lincs squad since 2005-06 when coach Merlin Malinowski guided St. Marys to Game 7 of the Western Conference final.
Going into this weekend, Lincolns (10-4-1-1) sit in third place in the West with 22 points. They have also been a great road team, posting a 6-2-1 record in away games to date.
It just didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a team effort. Smale, McClement and company have been working tirelessly on this team since the final day of last season. They say the hockey season never really ends, and the moulding of this solid St. Marys team has been a work in progress for many months.
The 2019-20 Lincs are a deep, talented and well-coached squad that features scoring power, size, toughness, leadership and great goaltending. Every player on this team has been hand-picked and has a certain role in the bigger team picture.
Skaters such as captain Blair Butchart, Mason Mantzavrakos, Jacob Bloomfield, Justin McIntyre, Thomas McLatchie, Cayse Ton and Joe Mazur will provide the bulk of the scoring. Lincolns also won’t get pushed around with players such as Ton, McLatchie, Dustin Pepper, Braeden Burdett and Carter Schoonderwoerd up front, and on the back-end with defencemen such as Riley Coome, Max Mulder, Caleb MacDonald and Jordan Daer. Lincs also have two excellent goaltenders in returnee Kyle Curtin and newcomer Gleb Poliakov. Curtin have proven to be one of the best puck-stoppers in the entire GOJHL.
And Smale, in particular, gets very high marks for recently acquiring a pair of talented defencemen–Nathan Small and former OHLer Riley Coome–in the same week!
The sky’s the limit for this team, and their strong start certainly has the town buzzing. Smale, McClement and the rest of the management staff and hard-working executive are obviously pleased with the early-season success. But they also know it’s a long way to February and March and reward time.
The Lincolns have taken giant steps, and it will be very interesting to see what this group of players can accomplish in this very promising 2019-20 season.
Upcoming: After a road game in Leamington Thursday, Lincs have two home games this weekend–Friday against Komoka at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday against St. Thomas at 1:30 p.m.