Mix of returning and new players makes Northland dangerous

The Lumberjacks have nearly an equal amount of returning players and newcomers, which makes the team something of an uncertain quantity.

Returning up front are sophomore Kraig Wright, whose team leading 31 points on 12 goals and 19 assists earned All-MCHA Rookie recognition, and senior Chad Moore, who scored 12 goals and 18 assists as team MVP.

Then there is sophomore Nicholas Hewko, who scored a team-leading 17 goals as an MCHA All-Freshman selection. The Hamilton, Ont. sniper was also second in the nation with 11 power-play goals.

Junior Colin McIntosh, who’s coming off a 20-point season, is another threat to score.

“Kraig and Chad are two important pieces in our offensive game,” coach Steve Fabiilli says. “They both had great years last year, I am looking for them to continue where they left off.

“I also think we have a few more guys who will be able to share the load of offensive production.”

Six freshmen will be expected to lend a scoring hand. Newcomer Chad Liley averaged better than a point a contest (22 goals and 33 assists in 52 games) with the Dryden (Ontario) Icedogs of the Superior International Junior Hockey League last session. Liley is joined by Dryden teammate Mike Lennon, who scored 15 goals and added 54 assists for the SIJHL squad last term.

Freshmen also feature prominently on the Lumberjacks’ blue line, where six newcomers debut. Reed Sinonar, who was a two-time defenseman of the year with the Northeastern Alberta Junior Hockey League Lloydminster Bandits, is the largest of the recruits at 6-foot-1.

They will play in front of senior netminder Daniel McIntosh, who is looking to rebound from a subpar 4-16-1 season where he had a 5.64 goals-against average and a .861 save-percentage.

“Having an experienced goalie should settle the new guys down so they are not worried about making mistakes, knowing they have a solid guy in net who will help them out,” Fabiilli says. “I think, overall on the blue line, those new guys are going to get an opportunity to play as we need to fill in spots.

“Our goal for them will be to help them adjust to college hockey as soon as possible.”