Start with four
This time it’s for real.
After a lengthy training camp and pre-season schedule, which began as early as Aug. 8 for a number of this year’s players, the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres finally will open their second SIJHL season by hosting the Thunder Bay Bulldogs tonight and tomorrow (Sept. 19-20) at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena.
The Sabres then will host the Dryden Ice Dogs on Tuesday (Sept. 23) and Fort William North Stars next Friday (Sept. 26) before playing their first road game on Wednesday, Oct. 1 against the expansion Sioux Lookout Flyers.
Ryan Faragher, last year’s No. 1 goalie, has returned to the team after a tryout with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL. He had a strong showing in his first exhibition appearance against Dryden last Friday night.
“I couldn’t turn this option down after what he [Faragher] did for the team last season as a 17-year-old rookie,” Sabres’ head coach Wayne Strachan noted. “We still have three goalies on our roster and we will be making a decision on the best two shortly.
“It should be a good battle between the three of them,” he added.
David Novak (Kenora) and Tanner Sheridan (Lillouet, B.C.) are the other two vying for the goalie job.
Meanwhile, the bad news for the Sabres is the loss of Alessio Tomassetti, who requested a trade to be closer to home in British Columbia for personal reasons.
Tomassetti was the top returning point-getter from a season ago (49 points in 43 games).
Carson Dubchak of Kenora, a rookie who played with the ‘AAA’ Thistles last season, has filled Tomassetti’s spot between Chris Sinclair (Fort Frances) and Dan Smith (Hermantown, Mn.)
Strachan said he has done a fine job in that role so far.
The Sabres’ roster also includes forwards Brendan Baumgartner (Edmonton, Alta.), Mitch Cain (Fort Frances), Gabe Capozzi (Englewood, N.J.), Graham Dyck (Atikokan), Zach McCool (Fort Frances), Logan McDonell (Atikokan), Chad Reynolds (Kenora), Kyle Turgeon (Fort Frances), Dan Usiski (Rainy River), and Ryan Witherspoon (Fort Frances).
The team’s defencemen include Patrick Bobcyznski (Fort Frances), Mike Boese (Hermantown, Mn.), Rod Bouchard (Thunder Bay),
Kenny Carpenter (Williams Lake, B.C.), Riley Ferster (Quesnel, B.C.), Tyler Hodges (Medicine Hat, Alta.), and Will Morrisseau (Couchiching First Nation).