[attach]2310[/attach]The St. Michael’s Buzzers are starting to make a name for themselves in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League.
The Buzzers enjoyed a four-game winning streak with three of those games coming over the last weekend in September. Heading into three games in a three-day stretch, the Buzzers were struggling with a 3-4 record, but as of late September, they were two games above .500 mark and starting to feel good about themselves.
Buzzers head coach Rich Ricci believes the turnaround can be attributed to the old adage ‘practice makes perfect.’
“For me, I stress consistency with play and execution,” says the first year coach of the Buzzers. “I think getting a couple of wins in three nights will be good for the guys and bolster the guys confidence moving forward.”
Over the past two seasons, the Buzzers have undergone several changes, from the players moving onto the next level to changing to a new developmental league and back under the OJHL umbrella.
All of these changes may have played a factor in St. Mike’s slow start, but for Ricci, it’s full steam ahead.
“I wasn’t here last year, so I am not too sure what the differences were, but from our perspective, it is business as usual,” he says.
The Buzzers’ opponents this past weekend, North York, a 6-5 shootout win, Toronto, a 7-1 win and Streetsville a 3-2 win, are near the bottom of the south division. On Oct. 1, the Buzzers were scheduled to go up against tough challengers Upper Canada College. The results were unknown at press time.
But Ricci says his charges will have to adapt to different skill levels as they move through the season.
“It’s starting to come around, the guys are starting to get used to all the new systems put in place and early on, we played some tough teams and the games will continue getting tougher as the season goes along,” he says.
Just 10 games into the season, Ricci thinks three players have helped the squad get to where they are. Those players are Kyle Morrison, Daniel Ciampini, Mark Cooper and Jesse Beamish.
Morrison and Ciampini lead the team in scoring with 19 points. Morrison has 11 goals and eight assists, while Ciampini has six goals and 13 assists.
“Kyle was used last year in more of a supporting role and I have been really happy with his dedication and attitude this year and has been rewarded for it,” says Ricci. “He has been playing on the top line and has 11 goals in 10 games so far this year.”
Ricci firmly believes when the dust settles at the end of the season the Buzzers will be near the top of the OJHL standings.
“The expectations are high, as they should be at St. Mike’s,” he says. “We are just looking for consistency in our play and an ability to play well defensively and show a willingness to learn systems.
“If we are able to show that on a game by game basis then the chips will fall where they should.”