by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
The Windsor Lancers men’s hockey team opened up their preseason schedule with a shutout victory over an OUA West division rival.
Rookie goaltender Kris Joyce backstopped the Lancers to a 3-0 victory over the Guelph Gryphons at the Central Park Athletics complex Sept. 19. Dylan Denomme and Dylan Seguin scored to put Windsor up 2-0 after two periods of play and reigning OUA rookie of the year, Justice Dundas, rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:16 remaining in the contest.
Lancers head coach Kevin Hamlin said his squad showed a lot of energy against Guelph and executed well against the team who eliminated them from the OUA playoffs last season with a game three overtime loss.
“We left some unfinished business on the table against Guelph last year,” said Hamlin. “We felt kind of got robbed in that game three. This was a good chance for us to – in a small way – make amends and get our year off on the right note for us. Even though it was an exhibition game, Guelph finished our season two years in a row so it’s always a little special when you play one of those kinds of teams.”
Joyce, a Prince George, B.C. native, is the reigning Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s most valuable player and comes to Windsor after posting a 22-20-4-3 record with the La Ronge Ice Wolves, sporting a 2.67 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. The 6’1″, 220 lbs. goaltender showed off his size and quickness making a key save to maintain the shutout during a five-on-three power play advantage for the Gryphons midway through the third period. Hamlin said he is excited about Joyce’s potential to compete at the OUA level.
“I thought he played very well, it’s a great way to start,” said Hamlin. “He saw a lot of pucks and he’s such a big kid that he covers up a lot of net. He comes to us as a highly regarded freshman and he’s a kid we think can battle for the number one spot and he showed well tonight.”
Fourth year Lancers forward Blake Blondeel will serve as captain for Windsor this season with Denomme and defencemen Scott Prier and Julian Luciani tabbed as his assistants. Blondeel sat on the sidelines for the Guelph game but said he enjoyed watching the Lancers progress as the game unfolded.
“It was really nice to see us executing things we haven’t even done in practice yet,” said Blondeel. “We weren’t to accomplish some things in four weeks of training camp compared to the results through two weeks this year. We should keep getting better from here.”
The Lancers men now head up to Ottawa for a weekend of preseason action with a pair of OUA East division opponents. First, Windsor battles the Carleton Ravens at the Ice House, Sept. 22 followed by a contest with the Ottawa Gee Gees the next evening.