2015/16 Minor Midget Record: 9-20-4 (10th Place)
2015/16 Minor Midget Final Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2015/16 Major Bantam Record: 15-8-7 (4th Place)
2015/16 Major Bantam Final Result: Lost in 5 to London in Semi-Finals
A year after making it to the final four at the bantam level, the Sun Country Panthers are going to need to up the ante in order to remain as one of the leagues elite teams.
The Minor Midget team in 2015/16 got off to quite a rough start. Nothing was clicking for the team, especially the offense which was struggling to put pucks in the net. There was at one point that it appeared that Cambridge would overtake Sun County, leaving the Panthers in 12th spot in the league. Then something clicked and the Panthers went on quite a roll. They found their groove and were able to spread out the offense enough that they jumped up to 10th spot in the league and made a run at the final playdown spot. While they ultimately failed to qualify for the playdowns, the turnaround this team saw was tremendous.
While the group at Minor Midget was working on a turnaround, the Major Bantam boys were enjoying quite a bit of success. Behind incredibly strong goaltending, the Panthers were able to comfortably hang out in 4th place for the majority of the year. Only problem was that they were better than the teams below them, but just a step behind the top three teams. That showed true in the semi-finals as Sun County was taken out by London in five games, only salvaging a tie in game one.
Looking ahead to the current season, once again I feel like the Panthers will ride or die with their two goaltenders. I believe Aidan Pitre may be the best goalie in the Alliance coming into the season. His size is definitely one of his strengths, but his mobility and ability to move from post to post seemingly effortlessly sees him making saves that probably shouldn’t be made. Romano Liburdi will once again team with Pitre and while Pitre may be the top dog, Liburdi isn’t too far behind.
The area where the Panthers could find trouble is in the offense once again. Stephane Crevier will be the focal point of the offense. If given room to move, he can create some great chances. In addition to Crevier, skaters like Josh Dicarlo and Josh Root are crafty players despite their small size. One name to watch during the year is Zane Dalpe, a 2002 born player making the move up to Minor Midget this year. Not the fastest on his skates yet, Dalpe will find his way to the puck and has shown a quick release on his shot.
Should the Panthers wish to replicate their success from last season, they will need to find combinations up front that work. The goaltending can be stellar, but goaltending can only take you so far at this level.
201617 Sun County Panthers Roster