Two more Laker veterans returning
Two veterans who will be key to helping keep the puck out of the Fort Frances Lakers’ net this coming season officially are back in the fold.
The team announced today that goalie Devin Tappenden and defenceman Aaron Wesley-Chisel will be back with the Lakers this fall.
After struggling early with a 1-3 record, the Markham, Ont. product reeled off 10-straight victories to end the regular season with an 11-3 mark to go along with a 2.26 GAA and .922 save percentage.
Tappenden then went 5-4 during the Lakers’ SIJHL championship run, but lost his starter’s job to Jordan Cartney after the team lost three-straight games in the Bill Salonen Cup final to the Minnesota Iron Rangers to trail the series 3-1.
The 6’5”, 220-pounder managed to get in the Lakers’ final game at the Dudley Hewitt Cup final to mop up for Cartney in a 6-1 semi-final loss to the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots.
“We now have a veteran presence in net and feel comfortable as a team with Devin returning,” said Lakers’ general manager and head coach Wayne Strachan.
Wesley-Chisel, a 17-year-old native of Thunder Bay who also spent some time at forward last season, had four goals and eight assists in 43 regular-season games in his first season with the Lakers.
But he didn’t see any playoff action.
“Aaron was a rookie with the team last year and improved his game immensely throughout the season,” lauded Strachan.
“He was hurt late in the year so didn’t see action in the playoffs,” he added.
“However, we feel Aaron can come in this year and be a mainstay in our defensive core.”
In related news, the final over-age graduate of the Lakers to find a new hockey home has done so.
Defenceman Tanner Fricke has committed to join the Williston State College Tetons (Williston, N.D.) this fall.
That’s the same school which former Lakers’ goalie Tyler Ampe helped win the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship last season.
Fricke, a 21-year-old product of Savage, Mn., tied teammate Cody Wickstrom for second in the SIJHL in blueliner scoring with six goals and 32 assists in 54 regular-season games.
He then added a goal and two assists in 12 playoff contests.
“Tanner was a big part of the Lakers’ offence from the defence position tying for the team lead in defenceman points,” noted Strachan.
“He reads the ice well and knows when to attack the opposing team’s net.”
The Lakers will hold their main training camp next month.