2017/18 Minor Midget Record: 8-18-7 (9th Place)
2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 7-20-5 (10th Place)
2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in 1st round to Chatham-Kent Cyclones in 3 games
Currently riding the longest postseason drought in the Alliance, the Lambton Jr. Sting of this season will rely on plenty of new faces to try and secure their first playdown appearance since the 2014/15 season.
The 02 born team had a chance to break that streak. Led by top Alliance skater Blake Butler, the Jr. Sting were right there alongside Chatham and Kitchener battling for the final playdown spot. Unfortunately for the Jr. Sting, they hit a rough patch to end the year, winning only one of their final nine games to end up on the outside looking in.
The bantam team suffered along the same fate as the 02 team did last season. It was the offense where the Jr. Sting struggled as their defense and goaltending led them to allow just 84 goals, the same amount as the first place London Jr. Knights. Unfortunately, Lambton averaged just over two goals per game and they weren’t able to overcome their offensive struggles.
There are lots of changes for the upcoming season for Lambton. The Jr. Sting will welcome eight new skaters to their club including five new forwards. Nicholas Medeiros will return and will be leaned upon heavily to continue to improve the offense of the club. Bradyn Santavy is another returning forward who should contribute with some reliable offense. Lambton will also be bringing in Kyle Pizzey from Elgin-Middlesex and three forwards from the AA Jr. Knights, which produced top 10 Alliance skater Quinton Pepper last season.
The big loss for Lambton is on the blue line as Christian Kyrou moved on to the Chiefs for this season. With the loss of Kyrou, there will be added responsibilities given to the likes of Wesley Brooks and Matthew Moore. Speaking of added responsibilities, the goaltending duo of Matt Brazeau and Layton Draper was fairly under rated as bantam and will be tested and given the chance to solidify their spot in the association with their play this year.
I’m always skeptical of teams that have massive turnover as you never know how long it will take to gel. Having five new players who played together last year will help ease the transition. Lambton will really need to pump their offense to keep up with some of the potent scoring teams in the Alliance. With that said, the defense could be enough to keep the Jr. Sting in contention for a playdown spot down the stretch.