Pat Payton, Sports editor
The newest St. Marys Lincoln played in the team’s first two Western Conference regular-season games this past weekend.
He’s Owen MacDonald, sent to the Lincs recently by the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights. The 16-year-old MacDonald was chosen by the Knights in the second round, 41st overall, in last summer’s OHL draft. The right-shooting forward, who is 5 ft., 9 inches and about 160 lbs., hails from Guelph.
MacDonald scored 43 goals last season for Guelph’s ‘AAA’ Minor Midget Storm.
“He’ll give us some speed,” Lincolns’ GM Warren Nye says. “He knows where to go in the open ice; he reads the ice very well. He’s got a good shot, and he’s a very smart hockey player.”
Nye says MacDonald should also provide Lincs with some additional offence. “We’re hoping he’s another Seth (Griffith) and he’ll do very well in his development year here in St. Marys.”
Griffith, now a three-year veteran with the Knights, spent the 2009-10 season in St. Marys as a 16-year-old and scored 43 goals.
MacDonald, who is playing centre for the Lincolns, is the team’s only 16-year-old at the present time (Junior teams are allowed to sign just two 16-year-olds each season). He’ll continue to practice with the Knights as well.
MacDonald didn’t register a point on the weekend, but produced a couple of good scoring chances.
Rizzo back with Lincs
The other news coming out of Lincolns’ camp is the return of defenceman Jonathan Rizzo. After signing Thursday, the offensive blue-liner played in both weekend games for St. Marys.
The 19-year-old from Ingersoll started last season with the Lincs, and picked up 13 points (3-10) in 14 games. He was scouted by Drummondville of the Quebec Major Jr. ‘A’ League at last year’s GOJHL Showcase Weekend, and spent the remainder of the season with the Voltigeurs.
In 30 games with Drummondville, the right-shooting Rizzo had five assists and 11 penalty minutes. This year, the 6 ft., 190 lb. blue-liner was cut by the Voltigeurs and also had a tryout with Soo Greyhounds of the OHL.
There are no changes to Lincolns’ leadership group.
Fourth-year winger Sean Consitt returns as captain, and assistants are forward Reid Oliver and defencemen Tyler Bryson and Danny Bryan. All four are 20-years old.
Junior hockey notebook:
• Lincolns’ starting time for home games has been moved back 15 minutes to 7:30 p.m.
• Jacques Cousineau, a member of the 1962-63 St. Marys team (and wearing an original sweater), dropped the ceremonial first puck at Lincs’ home opener last Friday night.
Fifty years ago this season, Lincolns celebrated their first All-Ontario championship in the spring of 1963 after defeating Kingston in six games. The 2012-13 season will be dedicated to that team and the coaching leadership of the late Stan Moore.
When they arrive, this year’s Lincs’ squad will honour the ‘62-63 team by wearing replica jerseys from the ‘62-63 championship season.
• Lincolns will get forward Sean Consitt back this weekend after their captain served a one-game suspension Sunday.
However, two other players picked up suspensions on Sunday. Winger Dean Pawlaczyk gets one game for being the instigator in a third-period fight, and rookie centre Mike Siddall received a major for checking-from-behind and will sit the next two games.
• New Lincs’ president Steve Stapleton says this year’s 2012-13 Elimination draw tickets will soon be available. Stapleton says Lincolns want to sell all of their tickets this season because they plan on going “deep into the playoffs.”
• Leamington Flyers have 10 returnees from last year’s team, which finished in second place with 30 wins.
“We’ve replaced about half our team,” coach Tony Piroski said. “We have a good group of kids who work pretty hard.
“In our area, there are three Jr. ‘B’ teams, and in the last few years we’re starting to get a chance at some of the better players in the area.”
Flyers added forward David Dalby this season. The Stratford native, who is attending the University of Windsor, played for Listowel Cyclones the last two years.
• London Nationals have 12 returnees from last year’s Western championship club, and they’ve also added at least three players with Junior experience. Among the new faces with Nats are forward Blake Thomas, obtained in a trade from St. Thomas Stars in the summer, and forward Matt Wildman and defenceman Shawn Crowley, who both played Tier II Jr. ‘A’ last season.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’re the team to beat, but we feel we’ll be competitive,” Nats’ coach Kelly Thomson said Sunday in St. Marys.
“There’s a lot of parity in the league, and we want to go and play as consistent as we can. I think the most consistent team, night in and night out, will likely end up on top of the standings.
“We’re not too worried about the end of the season, but rather the process of getting there and making sure all the guys are doing the right things.”
“We obviously like our core group of kids, and we have a great dressing room. We’re just going to try and build one game at a time.”
• Lambton Shores Predators also have 12 veterans back from a year ago. However, head coach Mark Davis says the Preds have lost some offence from last season.
“We’re not going to have as much offence as we did last year,” he said. “Four of our top players left our hockey club, but I like what I see. I’m excited by the fact that we have some young blood who will give us some get up and go. It will take us to Christmas to sort things out, but I’m excited about this year.”
• Six St. Marys minor hockey products are with Mitchell Hawks of the Western Jr. ‘C’ League this season.
They include: defencemen Nick Tybik, Derek MacDonald and Brett Stacey, and forwards Brent Rae, Dillon Drinkwalter and Matt Van De Walle.