Locals strap on their skates again

March is a busy time in sports and
means a lot of events on the local scene.

One of them is the return of roller
hockey for both adults and the youth.

Last week saw the second round of
matches in the WestTel youth league and the adults play their second games this
week.

Tomorrow night sees all of the
roller hockey action at the WestTel arena of Kings Sports Centre.

Taking centre stage will be the
same four clubs from last season in the MEPCO High Rollers, Budget Beavers,
Barracudas and Cayman Destination Management Services.

MEPCO have all of the momentum
heading into the new season following their Cherry Cup win in the best-of-three
league finals over Budget.

 The High Rollers won the league outright as it
claimed the regular season title at 8-2 in addition to the Cherry Cup. MEPCO
claimed the title on the last day of the regular season by beating CDMS by 12
goals.

One big reason why the High Rollers
won was the play of their goalie John Cowan, who led the league in save
percentage (75.9), allowed only 26 goals and made 108 saves.

From there the defense held serve
and allowed a league-low 58 goals thanks to the likes of Chris Creighton, Chris
Hart and Dan Etherington.

This season the squad sees little
change. The only major alteration was the addition of Basel Durzi who takes the
roster spot for Ryan MacMillan (who left the island last year).

For Budget 2010 is sure to be a
year of redemption. After attracting so much buzz with their superb offensive
skills the 8-2 Beavers fell short of claiming any championship glory.

The side did boast some gaudy
statistics though as it fielded an epic offensive assault (scoring a
league-high 100 goals).

The squad also produced the
league’s top three scorers: Tim MacDonald had had 55 points including a
league-high 40 goals and 15 assists, Mark Missal had 51 points via 30 goals (second
to MacDonald) and a league-best 21 assists and Chris Moser had 16 goals, 14
assists and 30 points.

Defensively the side was pretty
decent in allowing 70 goals. Between the pipes Budget saw fine showings from
Ryan Vanderwal who produced the most saves (158) while sporting a 72.8 save percentage.

The side has a fair amount of new
players with Martin Wilson, Alexis Falconer-Cloutier (both of whom scored in
their debuts this season) and Brian Chapell (former dean of the University College
of the Cayman Islands and CDMS player).

Last season’s third place finisher
was the 3-7 Barracudas who had trouble all season being consistent on both ends
of the court.

Statistically there’s nothing
special about the squad as it finished near the bottom in goals scored and
goals allowed.

However a number of solid
individual talents emerged on the side. Among them were Reilly Novak who posted
27 points on the year with 15 goals and 12 assists and Fareed Hosein (who also
served as referee) who nabbed 22 points off 17 assists and five goals.

Like the frontrunners the
Barracudas have made a few changes to their roster. Among the notable additions
is back-up goalie Jeremy Olynik, Collin Wilson (of flag football fame) and Eric
Lacasse.

It will be a tough road for the
Barracudas to get near .500 this year or give MEPCO or Budget a scare but at
least there’s plenty of veterans of local hockey on the side like Patrick Agemian,
Mark Thompson and Jason Windsor.

In the cellar last year was 2-8
CDMS. The team had issues with an offense that struggled to score (they netted
a league-low 55 goals) and a defense that was often over-run (allowing a league-high
97 goals).

There were some bright spots though
as Pete Holowchuk was in the top 15 in scoring with 11 goals, nine assists and
20 points.

In addition the side had much
athleticism with local sportsman Brendon Malice joining experienced hockey men
Patrick Bourque and Dave Champoux.

As expected the side made changes
and added the likes of Rob Brooks and Derek Bolingbroke.

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