By Pat Payton
A lot of people are asking, when was the last time a St. Marys Lincolns team started a regular season 3-0? After weekend action, Lincs sit alone in third place–one point behind Leamington Flyers (3-0-0-1) and two behind London Nationals (4-0) who they meet on Wednesday of this week in London.
–Coach-GM John Nelson says the LaSalle Vipers are a young, fast team with 10 returnees heading into the 2019-20 GOJHL season.
“We have a good core back, and a lot of young guys, too,” Nelson told the Independent last Friday. “It’s typical in our league where you’re replacing 10 to 12 guys every year.
“We’re a very fast and tenacious team, with a lot of skill. Once these guys gain some confidence and realize they can play Jr. ‘B’ hockey, I’m excited for these guys come February.
“What I also really like about our team is that we have a really close room; a lot of these guys grew up together. And we have a lot of guys who have aspirations to play at another level, so they’re real eager to learn.”
In his second stint with the team, Nelson has been the Vipers’ coach and GM for the past three seasons.
–In an NHL-style opening ceremony, the St. Marys players were individually introduced prior to last Friday’s home opener. Dropping the ceremonial first puck(s) between Lincs’ captain Blair Butchart and LaSalle captain Jack Bowler were St. Marys town councillor Jimmy Craigmile as well as Ryan Duck, Jordan Ritsma, Ben Chester and Nick Roth, representing the Hudsons Stratford Kia car dealership. The dealership is Lincolns’ puck sponsor.
–Lincs’ final Early Bird draw was held last Friday night, and the winner of $1,000 in cash was Gord Bryans, the proprietor of the Mingles pub downtown on Water Street. The main draw for the grand prize of $15,000 is Friday, Nov. 1. Tickets are still available.
–The date has been changed and Lincolns’ Alumni committee will now honour Paul Vanderspank on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. A banner will be placed on the west wall of the Rock Rink. A five-year Lincoln, the big left winger was captain of the 1975-76 team that won the All-Ontario championship in Collingwood. Vanderspank hails from the Belmont area.
–A key returnee for London Nationals is veteran centre Cal Davis, who was the Western Conference MVP last season and received the CHOK Player of the Year award. Davis also led the conference is scoring with 82 points (23-59).
In four games to date, Davis has six goals and 11 points.