Minor Midget Record: 17-9-7 (3rd Place)
Minor Midget Result: Lost in semi-finals to Waterloo in 8 games (Lost in OHL Cup Play-In Game)
Major Bantam Record: 12-15-5 (9th Place)
Major Bantam Result: Lost in first round to Waterloo in 4 games
Following another disappointing end to their season at the OHL Cup, the Kitchener Jr. Rangers will once again aim for a permanent spot in the provincial championship tournament.
Last year’s Minor Midget team was one of the more surprising teams in the league. After finishing bantam in last place, the 2001 version of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers were a top tier team in the Alliance thanks to the offensive additions of Cole Mackay and Justin McCombs. In addition to Mackay and McCombs, it was the emergence of Cole Schwindt and the play of Zach Russell that got Kitchener to the semi-finals of the playdowns, culminating in one of the best postseason series I’ve ever seen.
The 2002 born Kitchener team was very hot and cold throughout their season. The Jr. Rangers were led on offense by Luke Munroe and got some great contributions from Chris Black on the back end. Kitchener had some good secondary scoring options, but were unable to bunch them together and were left with an early exit from the postseason.
This season, the Jr. Rangers will return the majority of their key pieces from last season. While Munroe was the go-to guy at bantam, it looks like Adam Grein will be that guy this season. Grein played up with the minor midgets last season on a few occasions and got some valuable experience. And he wasn’t the only one as Munroe, Black, Eric Kinnear, Carter Raslovetzky and Nicolas Thibodeau also got into action with the older group.
The offense will be good this year as the chemistry between all the wingers continues to grow. Black will lead the defense once again with some key additions making their way to Ktichener for the season. Nicholas Billeci comes over from the Guelph Gryphons while big Kyle McCauley makes the move from the Lambton Jr. Sting. Goaltending was strengthened with Adam Whetren returning to the club and teaming up with former Cambridge Hawk Duncan Rolleman to form quite the goaltending tandem.
People like to underestimate Kitchener every season based on their performance the previous year at bantam. Maybe this is the year people grasp the winning system that coach Dean DeSilva and his staff have continually shown every year. They won’t be in the upper echelon, but look for Kitchener to be right there, battling for home ice in the opening round of the playdowns and a spot in the OHL Cup.