2018/19 Minor Midget Record: 3-27-3 (12th overall)
2018/19 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2018/19 Major Bantam Record: 20-7-5 (2nd overall)
2018/19 Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to Elgin-Middlesex
Following two years of the Minor Midget Hamilton Huskies occupying the cellar of the Alliance standings, this year sees a Hamilton team that should be a contender come January.
The last two seasons have definitely been trying times for the Huskies organization. Just a three win season a year ago, Hamilton did grow as a team and was able to have some success in the postseason as they knocked out Cambridge in the consolation bracket before being swept by the Jr. Knights. Turnover from bantam to minor midget has been a trend over the past couple of seasons and this year looks to be a similar story on that front.
The 2004 age group has been a consistent contender in the Alliance over the past several years. The difference heading into this year is there has been a change in the personnel on the ice. Eight new faces join the 04 group this year, you can make that nine if you include Riley George who played with the 03’s last season. Included in those departures are a couple of key players, most notably Rennick Villaflor on defense and Ethan Smyth up front. Despite the turnover, this team is still chalked full of talent.
At the forward position, Justin Dezoete is going to be a fun player to watch this season. The captain of the team, Dezoete always seems to be where the puck is and his combination of strength and speed allows him to win many of the puck battles he gets involved with. Playing alongside Dezoete is Patrick Thomas who is a lethal scorer. A quick released mixed in with the ability to find the open areas should lead to Thomas racking up the points this season. Add in the likes of Tyler Azure and Connor Koropatnicki and there is definite firepower on this team.
The defense will be led by Tyson Wassink, whose poise in his own end and ability to connect on tough passes put him near the top in the Alliance. I always like the games of Ben Ballantyne and Michael Brown who came over from the Halton Hurricanes this season.
With all that said, goaltending may be the biggest asset this team has. Jacob Koutny was the guy for the bantams last season and he’s joined by George, who although didn’t win much with the Minor Midget’s last season, faced a lot of rubber and kept them in many games which is difficult for an underage goalie to do.
Add Hamilton to the list of teams that should be competing for an OHL Cup spot this winter. I don’t doubt that the Huskies could be team that only needs to score a couple goals to put themselves in line for a win.