Jock Talk with Joel Charron: The NHL is gone, but we have the Midget Majors

 

So the National Hockey League is in another lockout.

You don’t need the NHL in order to see good, quality hockey, you have it right here in Amherstburg playing at the UCCU Complex.

Yup, that’s right, I’m talking about the Amherstburg Midget Majors Stars.

One would think after the players that moved on from last year’s team, the 2012-1013 version of the Stars would have been a little undermanned and overwhelmed.

Well, you would be terribly mistaken.

The 2012-2013 Stars have an outstanding combination of size, speed and skill. Not only do they have some of last years top scorers back, such as, Eric Shaw and Mike Popel, they picked up a few more snipers in Colin Leardi and Robert Lavoie. Mix them in with Ryan Holzel and Josh Laframboise we are looking at a team that could put up a ton of points.

Lets take a look at the lines Coach Matt Fox will be rolling with in the early going.

Line One: Mike Popel, Eric Shaw and Josh LaFramboise

This is a big, physical line that can pop the biscuit in the back of the net at any time. I have no doubt Laframboise will bring his game to the next level playing with vets like Popel and Shaw.

Line Two: Robert Lavoie, Colin Leardi and Ryan Holzel. I hope you like to watch fast hockey because this line makes the Flash look like he’s walking. This line is going to give opposing teams nightmares. All three of them can see the ice well, pass even better and shoot lights out. I wouldn’t want to be the other team when they are at their best.

Line Three: Dean Patterson, Alex Popel, Noah Renaud and Colin Pretty.

Because Coach Fox is keeping 10 forwards, this line will be thought of as an experiment. Alex Popel, who plays bigger than his size dictates will be the anchor of this line, being the only returning player out of the four. In my opinion, this is going to be an underrated line, that will produce in clutch moments of the game and if Patterson and Renaud get physical, teams could be running scared.

Lets move on to the blue line.

Pairing One: Matt Rosati and Cody Leeming

Both are stud defensemen that play good positional hockey and have a rocket for a shot. Look for both to jump in on the rush, which will give the Stars that extra little something for opponents to worry about.

Pairing Two: Zack Parlette and Keifer Wright

These two d-men are like wrecking balls on skates looking to clear out debris and take out the garbage. I pity the forward who thinks they are going to dance around these guys. Parlette and Wright are heavy hitters that will go through the opposing team.

Pairing Three: Duncan Scott and Conor Marontate

These two should compliment each other well. In his second year with the Stars, Scott will be looking to come into his own this season, we’ll see if his hard work over the summer pays off. Marontate is a stay at home defenseman with good instincts and soft hands. Marontate has a good shot, so look for some blast from the point.

Now the goalies, Mitch Topliffe and Chris Wallace.

Arguably the best goalie tandem in the league. Both Topilffe and Wallace have proven they can play at a high level and both have proven they can be a number one goalie. The intense  competition at this position is only gong to make both of them better.

The Stars have all the talent in the world, however all that talent is no good if players are constantly sitting in the sin bin. The Stars are prone to taking stupid penalties, which in the long run could very well hurt them. Once the Stars get that little problem under control this team could do some damage.

With the depth and skill this team has their potential is limitless, but they going to have to earn everything, nothing will be given to them.

I’m predicting a deep playoff run, whether or not that playoff run is ended with a championship, that’s up to them and how bad the Stars want it.

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