Young forwards Nick Mazza and Ryan Moore dealt to St. Thomas Stars
By Pat Payton
St. Marys Lincolns’ Director of Hockey Operations/GM Greg Smale was on the phone a lot last week.
Smale acquired a veteran forward, whose rights belonged to the Chatham Maroons, and also dealt two young forwards to the St. Thomas Stars.
The newest Lincoln is Adrian Stubberfield, who the GM thinks will complement an already strong forward group and add a little scoring punch as well. Stubberfield picked up 40 points (9-31) with Chatham as a 17-year-old in 2019-20.
The Chatham native, who is 5 ft., 10 inches and 155 lbs., is turning 19 later this month. His first two games with the Lincs were this past weekend, and he scored his first goal in a St. Marys uniform in Saturday’s 6-3 victory in Strathroy.
“We’ve acquired Adrian from the Maroons for cash considerations,” Smale told the Independent. “He’s decided that he wants to play hockey again. We feel he’s going to be a great fit for our team. He has great offensive skill, but most importantly he’s a good two-way player with a high upside for the future. We’re excited to have him.”
Stubberfield, meanwhile, is a member of the track team at Western University.
Pair dealt to St. Thomas
The Lincolns’ GM also traded wingers Nick Mazza and Ryan Cooper to the Stars in a straight cash deal.
“Ice time is at a premium,” Smale said. “These are two really good kids and good players who need more playing time, and we can’t provide that here right now for them. We wanted to make sure we found them a spot to play and help them develop. We wish them all the best, and hope they do well in St. Thomas.”
Mazza, an 18-year-old from London, had one goal and two points in 17 games with the Lincs. Cooper, a 17-year-old Ilderton native, had one goal and two assists in seven games with the Lincolns. His time was brief in St. Marys as he was obtained from London Nationals on Nov. 13.
Mazza and Cooper played their first games for St. Thomas last Friday. Mazza scored one of the two Stars’ goals in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Lincs.
–The Lincolns’ line of veterans Ethan Lamoureux and Thomas Harbour, with rookie Noah VandenBrink, has been hot. The trio combined for 15 points in two road wins this past weekend.
–St. Marys continues to have great penalty-killing success. Following weekend action, Lincs are killing penalties at an 86.3 percent rate, which is first in that category in the West.
–Coach Jeff Bradley credits solid “team defence” as a big reason for Lincolns’ six-game winning streak. In those six games (five of them on the road), Lincs allowed just 11 goals–an average of less than two per night. Another big factor has been goalie Bryce Walcarius, who is 8-1 in his last nine games.
“Our team is playing really good team defence,” Bradley said this past weekend. “We’re not giving up much five-on-five. Our powerplay is also starting to wake up a little bit, but there are still some areas we need to clean up.
“We’re happy with our last 10 games. Our structure is starting to take shape. It’s all on the players, they’ve been doing a great job. They have high aspirations, and they want to do well and succeed as a team. They understand that we have to play with structure and discipline, and doing it the right way will help them achieve those goals.”
–Lincolns are 8-2 since Bradley took over the second week of November. Going into this weekend, his home record is 2-1 as eight of Lincs’ last 12 games have been on the road.
–In an interview last week, GM Smale likes the way the Lincolns are coming together.
“We’re not a complete project yet, but we’re definitely going in the right direction,” he told the newspaper. “The only stinker we’ve had was that Chatham game (5-1 loss on Nov. 19), and it was coming off the Leamington (road) game the night before.
“Jeff’s really turned it around since he’s been here; I have to give this guy a lot of credit. We’re moving pucks, we have zone coverage, and our forecheck is a lot better. It’s the way our roster should be utilized. We’re getting better every time we hit the ice, which is a breath of fresh air. The kids are excited,” Smale added.
–Former Lincs’ sniper Seth Griffith (2009-10) is a member of the Bakersfield Condors, Edmonton Oilers’ American League farm club. He attended the Oilers’ NHL training camp in the fall.
Griffith, 28, is leading the Condors in scoring with six goals and 18 points in 15 AHL games. The Wallaceburg native was just 16 when he spent one season in St. Marys, then went on to play three years with the OHL’s London Knights. He was originally drafted in the fifth round by the Boston Bruins in 2012.