Offense: The Tigers tied for fourth in league scoring last season with 69 goals, just over three a game, and hit that 3.00 mark right on the nose in 34 games overall. The forward lines will be missing last season’s second-, third- and fourth-leading scorers, who combined for 29 goals and 78 points in 100 combined games. The team retains the returning second-, third- and fourth-leading goal-scorers though, in Lee Jubinville (11), Mark Magnowski (10), and Cam MacIntyre (nine).
Depth of experience also a strong point for this edition of the Tigers, as nine returning forwards scored multiple goals last year, and eight not only saw time on the power-play, but ended one with a goal as well.
“I feel good — we made great strides last year,” said Gadowsky. “We lost nine seniors; we lost a lot of leadership,” but the returners and the incoming class are solid, he said.
Three new scorers enter the fold under Gadowsky this fall, as the coach experiences his first full class rotation at Princeton. Kevin Lohry, Matt Arhontas and Mike Kramer each settle into new digs in ‘Jersey after playing last winter in the USHL.
Kramer produced consistently for three years in the league, and served with the US Under-18 team three years back, but Arhontas demonstrated strong improvement in each of his three seasons in the U’. Lohry isn’t to be forgotten either, tallying 43 points in his only season of USHL service.
Defense: The team allowed just shy of three goals per game in league in 2006-07, and surrendered a nice round 100 goals in its 34 total games. Four seniors are gone from the Princeton blue line, with three having played at least 32 of the team’s games.
Mike Moore and Jody Pederson are the only returning defenders who saw significant ice time last year, while freshmen Kevin Crane and Brad Schroeder combined for 27 game appearances. Gadowsky invited three defensemen to join Princeton’s Class of 2011, including Fort Saskatchewan teammates Taylor Fedun and Cam Ritchie. Both around 6-foot, 185, they also have the ability to turn the puck up-ice and to make good first-passes out of the zone; neither was a stranger to the scoresheet in the AJHL.
Goaltending: Zane Kalemba played 21 games for the Tigers, most on the team, and held a 2.89 overall GAA despite a sub-900 save rate. He played well most of the time, but will likely be overshadowed by the truly remarkable goaltenders in the league.
Alan Reynolds, 19, comes on board as the third goalie, fighting for time with Thomas Sychterz. Divisional Rookie of the Year last season in the Ontario Provincial league, Reynolds might be the one who takes over should Kalemba begin to struggle … but Gadowsky insisted that no one was the de facto number-one goalie yet.
Outlook: The defense will require a bit more patience and Kalemba will probably need to come out strong to prevent the Tigers from slipping into an early hole.
As a team, however, the Stripes look well-led by a small but accomplished senior class, and Gadowsky has effectively developed the younger players in such a way that they can capably take control every now and again. Youth can be unpredictable, but hey, so can this whole league.