Men’s hockey filling next year’s gaps

Derek Montague – The Aquinian –
What will the STU Tommies hockey team look like next year? (AQ Archives)
What will the STU Tommies hockey team look like next year? (AQ Archives)

After finishing dead last in the AUS, the St. Thomas men’s hockey team will be looking to recruit some new talent this summer.

Three Tommies are graduating this year and will need to be replaced; forward Max Chamberland, defenseman Ryan Lehr, and goalie Guillaume Miszczak.

Miszczak won’t be too hard to replace, since he was the third-string goalie for the Tommies. It is important to have a third goalie; in case one of the top two gets injured. Miszczak had to appear in two games this season when Charlie Lavigne was injured.

Ryan Lehr will be missed on the Tommies roster. He logged a lot of minutes and has a bullet shot, making him valuable on the power play.

Max Chamberland will be the hardest to replace on the Tommies’ roster.

In three seasons with the Tommies, he tallied more than 70 points. He is a smooth passer and played on the power play and penalty kill.

Head coach Mike Eagles recently went to Ontario on a recruiting trip. It’s not clear if the trip will result in any new players coming to STU.

Fortunately for the Tommies, there’s already one talented player who plans to play for the Tommies next season. Mathieu Melanson (son of former NHL goalie Rollie Melanson) made his commitment to the Tommies several months ago, and has been attending classes at STU since January.

The 24-year-old forward was drafted 251st overall in the 2003 NHL draft by the Minnesota Wild. Although he hasn’t played in the NHL, Melanson had a very successful major junior and minor pro career.

In 2006 he led the Quebec Ramparts to the Memorial Cup. During that season, he scored 86 points in 59 games.

His playoff stats that year are staggering; 25 goals and 15 assists in 23 games. In the ECHL, he averaged over a point per game in two full seasons. You can expect Melanson to be an offensive force for the Tommies next season.

But it will take more than just one player to help revive the Tommies. This past season has shown that the team has a lot of holes.

Melanson will help out offensively, but defense has to be the biggest concern. Last season, the Tommies allowed 128 goals against, the worst in the AUS.

We may have to wait until the fall to find out if Mike Eagles found enough players to fill some of the holes.