By Pat Payton
Head coach Jeff Bradley had this to say about the St. Marys Lincolns in a recent interview with the Independent. The 34-year-old Port Stanley resident took over behind the St. Marys bench early last month and Lincs have responded with a 6-2 record over the last eight games.
“This is my kind of team,” Bradley said. “They’re a feisty team, a chippy team, and they fight for each other and stick up for each other. This is a team I want to be a part of, and I’m really, really happy to be a part of this team.
“We just have to continue to take steps forward, and stop taking steps backwards after we take a step forward. We have to separate ourselves and try and catch the teams ahead of us.”
–It’s close at the top for the Lincolns’ team scoring lead. Veteran Ethan Lamoureux recently moved into top spot with 22 points (8-14), one more than rookie Noah VandenBrink (9-12-21). Two points behind Lamoureux is rookie Kyle Morey (5-14-19).
–Myles Baker returned to the Lincs’ line-up this past weekend. The 20-year-old defenceman missed just over a month due to an upper-body injury suffered Oct. 20 in LaSalle.
–Strathroy Rockets are a small, fast and scrappy team, and also well-coached. The Rockets have been plagued by injuries, and they’re definitely better than their 5-11-2-3 record might indicate.
“We’ve been hit with the injury bug, but we have guys starting to come back,” coach Jason Williams, a former NHLer, said prior to last Friday’s game in St. Marys. “We still haven’t played one game this year with a full line-up, and that’s been kind of tough.
“Especially the last couple of weeks, we’ve had guys fill in and do a really good job for us. The guys are buying in and playing for each other. We’d like to get on a little bit of a run before Christmas.”
When the Rockets are playing well, they’re taking advantage of their speed, Williams says.
“We have guys who can really sakte, and we like to play a fast game. We like to challenge the other team’s defence and cause havoc with our forecheck. If we’re relentless on the forecheck, that’s when we’re at our best.”
–London Nationals’ centre Zach Power, 20, is leading the GOJHL scoring race, averaging over two points a game. In 20 games to date, Power has 15 goals and 47 points. He has five powerplay goals and three game winners.
“Zach’s been a big part of our success,” coach Colin Martin said in a recent stop in St. Marys. “All of our kids come to the rink, trying to get better every day. Zach’s one of them and he’s one of our leaders. With him and (captain Jeff) Burridge up front, they both lead my example with their work ethic — both on and off the ice.”
Like all good hockey players, Martin says Power wants the puck on his stick. “Good players want the puck on their stick in big moments of the game, and Zach is one of those players.”
Power is the son of Chad Power, a former Sarnia Bees’ centre who helped his team win the Western League title in the spring of 1993.
–Over in the Golden Horseshoe loop, Hamilton Kilty B’s are 20-2 following weekend action. It’s the best won-loss record in the entire GOJHL.
–Lincolns are holding a ‘Toy and Food Drive’ at their next two home games on Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. Please bring an unwrapped toy and a non-perishable food item.
–Former Lincs’ defenceman Nathan Small (2019-20) is now a member of the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (Tier II Jr. ‘A’). An offensive-minded blueliner, the 19-year-old from Dorchester collected 36 points in 40 games in his lone season in St. Marys.
–Ron Ryan, a member of the 1962-63 Lincolns All-Ontario championship team, passed away on Nov. 20 at the age of 78. The former St. Marys resident had been living south of Grand Bend.
Ryan, a forward, came to St. Marys from Temiskaming to play Jr. ‘B’ hockey.
Eight players from that memorable team are still living.