Corvairs Rebuilding for Upcoming Season

Corvairs acquire three Red Wings, rebuild for upcoming season

It’s never easy to win back-to-back championships, but that’s what the Caledonia Corvairs hope to do with their new-look Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League team in the 2014-2015 season.

They knew they would be losing goalie Colin Furlong, captain Matt Quilty and defensive force Kyler Nixon. It’s now been made official that Connor Murphy, the Junior B player of the year, will be heading south to play in the USHL.

The Ancaster native scored 96 points in 49 games this past season. He put up almost equally impressive numbers in the post-season, counting 19 points in 14 games during the GOJHL playoffs and 14 points in 12 games during the Sutherland Cup championship.

Other players who will be leaving include Jayme Forslund, who has an OHL tryout, and backup goaltender Ian Sylves, who will play for Buffalo State University.

So with the Corvairs’ first pre-season game just over five weeks away, general manager Brian Rizzetto is hard at work trying to put together another Junior B hockey Sutherland Cup provincial championship-winning squad.

Three key pieces of the puzzle will come in the form of Junior A Hamilton Red Wings players Connor Bramwell, Nathan Gomes and Brandon Kolaski. Rizzetto has a deal in principle with Red Wings owner Stuart Hyman to bring all three to Caledonia for the start of the campaign.

Born in 1997, Bramwell had an impressive debut season with the Red Wings, scoring 12 goals and 13 assists in 53 games. From Hamilton, Bramwell played with the Hamilton Huskies Minor Midget AAA before joining the Red Wings.

Gomes, born in 1996, it the prototypical Corvairs player. With good hands, he netted 10 goals and nine assists in 53 games, while amassing 62 penalty minutes. He’s not afraid of the dirty areas and could add the grit this team will be looking for.

Kolaski, a Binbrook native, will add size to the Corvairs’ defensive core, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 195 pounds. His physical style is exactly what the team is looking for.

“He’s a big boy,” said Rizzetto. “He’s got a mean streak in him. There’s lots of upside to him.”

At the team’s practice last week, there were many outstanding performances. Anaheim Ducks second-round draft pick Brandon Montour skated with the squad. His fluidity and IQ stood out, and there’s little doubt he could make the Ducks roster in short order.

Standout performances included tryout goalie Jake Trentadue, who made fantastic save after fantastic save, including one on Caledonia native Owen Burnell during a penalty.

Another standout signee is Justin Graham of Shelbourne. With 21 goals and 17 assists last season in 35 games for the Mount Forest Patriots of the Western Ontario Junior C league, Graham will add scoring touch and could be on one of the top two lines.

With Furlong’s departure after last season, it’s anyone’s guess who could start in net for the Corvairs this time around. Caledonia native Curtis D’Ortenzio will be given every opportunity to play throughout the season, but impressive performances from Trentadue and others could challenge him for a No. 1 spot.

Other goalies expected to try out for the squad include John Jeffries, formerly of the Hamilton Huskies, and Tyler Lewis, who played games with the Junior A Burlington Cougars last season. Rizzetto is keeping all options open at this time, and could trade for a starting goalie if he doesn’t feel the others are up to the task.

The Corvairs are putting a clear focus on signing younger players who could stay with the team for multiple years, instead of focusing on 1994-born players who only have one season left in the league.

By signing players born in 1996 and ’97, they are acquiring people who could play three or ever four years with the team.

shawnsmith@thesachem.ca

You all know that I am a die-hard Rockets fan, but I am also a die-hard GOJHL fan, having been watching Jr. B hockey since I was 10 years old. I will only watch the GOJHL and during the hockey season, you never know what arena RG is gonna show up at.

I’m bringing you the games, news, and updates of the GOJHL.

RG is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheRocketGirl16 and you can find me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheRocketGirl16

If you hear of anything about any of the teams in the GOJHL, or have questions about anything, feel free to post it. If I don’t know the answer, I know how to find it.

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