Local Players Help Start New Season on Right Footing

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The Athens Aeros opened the 2014-2015 Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League (EOJHL) season with four games in September. The Aeros began the season rotating wins and losses until the calendar flipped to October. After starting the season with a 1-0 shutout loss against the Prescott Flyers, the same team to eliminate them from last season’s playoffs, the Aeros won games against Westport (9-2) and Gananoque (5-4) in a shootout. Between the two wins was a 7-5 loss to Brockville. The Aeros finished September with two wins and two losses (2-2-0-0). Leading the way offensively for the Aeros was Greg Heika who tied for the team lead in goals and points scoring three goals and seven points.

Local talent will be a theme on the Aeros again this year, with many local players beginning the year on the team. Aeros General Manager Norm Racine understands how lucky he is to have so much quality local talent to choose from. “We’re fortunate if you look at the size of Athens, the town of Athens to have this many players, we’re starting our year with six local players, six players that started playing hockey in Athens, Athens Minor hockey,” he said before continuing, “At one point we were killing a penalty in Gananoque and three of the guys on the ice are right straight from Athens and that’s Emerson Moulton, Clayton Gray, Adam James and Jordan Robertson, three guys from Athens, like you’ll hardly see that on any team in the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League, any team, and that’s Brockville, Westport, any team, you’ll rarely see that.” Racine continued by pointing out how important local talent is for the fans coming to the games. “It’s huge, anytime we can get local kids on the team that can play, like we have this year, I mean that’s great, you know for sure, the fans, the community has always been very supportive of the Athens Aeros and when they see the kids that they’ve seen growing up in the rink, on the ice making a difference, and they’re impact players, they’re not just there as fourth liners, these are impact players that we have, it’s huge it makes a huge difference,” he said.

The Aeros opened October’s six game schedule with their first trip to Westport. For the first time this season the Aeros won consecutive games beating Westport 3-2 in a shootout. After starting their first two game winning streak of the season the Aeros next two games came against Prescott and Brockville, the teams responsible for the two Aeros losses this season. While those games didn’t go as planned for the Aeros losing both and being outscored 8-2 in the process they were able to follow that up with wins over Gananoque (5-0), Char-Lan (7-4) and Gananoque (5-1). Despite going 0-4 against the Tikis and Flyers, Racine remains confident in his team and feels they were right there with both teams.

“I don’t see that as an issue, I mean our first game against Prescott we lost 1-0, you know, and the next game we turn around and we score nine goals, we can’t score a goal the first game, we score nine the very next game. So that game could have gone either way, one lucky bounce and we score a goal and it’s tied, who knows. Then when Prescott came here, it was 1-1, it was 2-1, we thought we had tied it up late in the third period but it was a goal that wasn’t allowed and we lost with an empty netter 3-1, so I mean I’m sure we can take those guys too so we’re not worried about them. As far as Brockville, we were our own worst enemy both games against Brockville. We had a lead, a 5-2 lead in Brockville and then we just decided not to play in the second and third period and if you don’t play, this is Junior B hockey right, so if you don’t play a full 60 minutes, anybody can win anynight, so we’re pretty confident we can beat those guys we’re not worried about that,” he said.

The Aeros finished the month of October with four wins and two losses (4-2-0-0) bringing their season total to 6-4-0-0. Emerson Moulton and Drew Powell lead the way offensively for the Aeros scoring 7 points each while J.P. Augustine was the Aeros top goal scorer with 5 goals.

Looking Ahead

After opening the season with ten games in 42 days, with nine of their first ten games against division rivals the Aeros enter the meat of their schedule playing eleven games in the month of November. The Aeros begin November with three straight games against the St. Lawrence Division before reverting back to six straight and seven of the final eight games against their own division. During that stretch they play Prescott twice, Westport twice, Brockville twice and one each against Gananoque and Morrisburg.

The Aeros first of three straight games against the St. Lawerence division came on the road in Akwesasne, with the Aeros riding a three game winning streak. A late goal by the Akwesansne Wolves forced overtime and after five scoreless minutes the game went to a shootout. After a Jordan Robertson goal gave the Aeros the lead the Wolves responded with two straight goals. Nathan Foster missed in the third round of the shootout and the Akwesanse Wolves snapped the Aeros three game winning streak with a 5-4 shootout win. The Aeros returned home to face the Casselman Vikings, marking the Aeros first home game in three weeks. The Vikings came into the game having yet to lose in regulation posting 11 wins and a shootout loss. After J.P. Augustine tied the game on the power play, with just over five minutes to play, Casselman Vikings defenseman Samuel Gosselin responded with a goal of his own with less than a minute to play as the Vikings beat the Aeros 4-3. The win keeps the Vikings undefeated in regulation as they improve to 12-0-0-1, meanwhile the loss is the Aeros second in a row dropping their record to 6-5-0-1. Through two games this month Drew Powell is the Aeros top scorer with two goals and two assists.

The Aeros have a busy weekend ahead as they play three straight Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Friday, the Aeros travel to Alexandria to take on the Glens at 8 before traveling to Prescott for a rematch with the Flyers at 7:30 on Saturday night. The Aeros return home on Sunday night for a showdown with the Westport Rideaus, puck drop is 7:30.

Rideau Division Standings (as of Nov. 2)

 

Team                            Games Played           Wins            Points

Prescott Flyers                       14                     10               21

Gananoque Islanders              14                      7                15

Brockville Tikis                       15                      6                14

Athens Aeros                        12                       6                13

Westport Rideaus                   15                      5                11

 

Top 5 Scorers (as of Nov. 2)

 

Player                     Games Played       Goals       Assists       Points

J.P. Augustine                 12                   9             7             16

Drew Powell                    12                   6            10            16

Emerson Moulton             12                   6             5             11

Greg Heika                      12                   5             5             10

Ty Hannaford                  12                   7              1             8

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