Siskins off to another hot start
The Stayner Siskins, shown here during their home-opener at Stayner Memorial Arena last Thursday, are off to an 8-0 start to the Provincial Junior Hockey League season. GISELE WINTON SARVIS/PHOTO
The Stayner Siskins are hot this season with an 8-0 record in Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) play.
Head coach Dave Steele said it’s a continuation from last season’s regular season that saw the team notch about two dozen consecutive wins.
“We have not lost a regular-season game since Nov. 2, 2016,” he said. “We’ve had a streak of wins in regular season, not post season, for a pretty long time.”
But the team has not yet played the Alliston Hornets, last year’s Carruthers Division champions in the PJHL’s Northern Conference and the team that beat the Siskins Nov. 2, 2016.
The first game between the Siskins and Hornets, which finished first and second in the regular season last year, respectively, is coming up on Thursday at the Stayner Memorial Arena.
With a 9-1-0 records the current league leader will provide the adversity the team needs to get stronger, said Steele.
“You need to have adversity in order to understand how to overcome it,” he said. “We are hoping that Alliston will come and give us a go and give us that adversity we are looking for to try to develop the ability to overcome it,” he said.
That being said, Steele said the wins have not come easy for the team.
“We are not coasting through these games,” he added. “We are working hard. It’s still a matter of a lot of new players learning to work with each other.”
The team has only had home ice for two weeks. The team played six road games having had no home ice practices.
The Penetang Kings (1-5-0) held their own against the Siskins on Friday night in a 4-2 win for the Siskins.
“The Kings gave us a good skate. Their record doesn’t reflect how good they are,” Steele said.
Something that the Siskins have struggled with in the past few years is consistency between the posts.
This year, the team signed a rookie goalie Zach Levac, who has been “sensational” and Marcus Semiao who came from the Junior ‘A’ Markham Royals.
“He’s an unbelievable addition to our club. He is filling a role we didn’t have last year, someone’s who’s come out of a higher level to lead the team,” Steele said.
The team has built up a strong offence with four lines.
Leading the points is forward Ben Hughes with 23 points (7G, 16A).
Right behind him is centre J.D. Falconer who is having an “awesome” season so far, said Steele.
Falconer has racked up 17 points in eight games. He got six points in the Oct. 5 game (2G, 4A) against Huntsville and two hat tricks, against Orillia and Wingham.
“The pucks are flying in the net right now. It’s a good feeling,” said the Barrie native who is on a line with captain Lucas Jeffery and Joey Visconti.
“The addition of Joey Visconti as his right winger has been very good for J.D.,” Steele said. “J.D. is a natural shooter and Joey is an all-around talented hockey player. Then there’s a team captain Lucas Jeffery. You have a very powerful line that has shown they have the ability to score,” Steele said.
Falconer said the entire team pushing for consistency of scoring opportunities.
“We have a lot of lines. It’s not just one line doing the work. If our line’s not going another line is going. It’s hard to defend and that’s what makes us so strong,” he said.