2018/19 Minor Midget Record: 7-21-5 (10th Overall)
2018/19 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2018/19 Major Bantam Record: 11-16-5 (9th Overall)
2018/19 Major Bantam Result: Lost in quarter-finals to Elgin-Middlesex
After a string of strong seasons was snapped last year, the Sun County Panthers hope momentum from the end of last season will carry forward to this year.
The minor midget season last year could have gone better for the Sun County Panthers. Lacking significant impact players up front, the Panthers tried to play tight games and win more with defense than offense. SCP scored the fewest goals in the league last season with just 61 tallies in 33 games. While there was some strong play to close out the regular season, Sun County wasn’t able to compete with those near the top of the standings.
Fast forward to the new year and this Panthers team should score more goals than their predecessors. The team does have some solid forwards up front, led by Connor McCracken, who was contributing a lot of goals to the team. Jonas Youssef is another forward who should contribute offensively while the teams hopes to see jumps in production from the likes of Drew Booker and Allan Djordjevic. The team originally had announced that forward Colton Smith would be joining the team from Belle Tire. Smith would have been a huge addition to the offense, but it now appears as though he will be playing in the HEO with Kanata this season.
The defense has some interesting pieces involved. Koen Taves from a defensive standpoint should be their number one. Taves had a strong bantam season. Both Adam Dunn and Seth Martineau are expected to see time on defense with Dunn showing flashes at the Titans and Martineau being one of the biggest players in the league this season. The team also brought in Luca Muscedere from Belle Tire to add another wrinkle.
In net both Boe Piroski and Evan Rainsforth are back in Panther colours. Some would make the argument that Piroski could be the best goalie in the Alliance this season, a claim that would fit with history as SCP is known for having strong minor midget goaltenders (Michael DiPietro, Aidan Pitre, Nick Chenard).
I would consider Sun County to be one of the bubble teams in the loop this year. I could see the team making the jump to being in the same area as Windsor and Cambridge while I can also see the team fighting for that final playdown spot up to the last weekend of the season. Head coach Mark Turner, who returns for his second straight year with Sun County, will look for improvements from a variety of areas to reach the postseason.