Canton Chiefs boys hockey team ready to get after it

Canton Chiefs boys hockey team ready to get after it

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Canton Chiefs boys hockey team ready to get after it

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After a couple down seasons, Canton’s varsity boys hockey team could be primed for a bounceback year.

And as far as Chiefs head coach Brad Barath is concerned, it’s because of attitude and work ethic. Both were on display during a recent contest against campus rival Plymouth, as the gritty Chiefs gave it their all to block 22 shots.

There are several promising sophomores on the Canton roster, including forward Daniel Bourgeois (No. 13).

There are several promising sophomores on the Canton roster, including forward Daniel Bourgeois (No. 13).

“Blocking shots is something you do with hard work,” Barath explained. “And it shows exactly what the identity of this team is.

“Once they start doing the small things, they start putting a few pucks in the net and get a win, it’s only going to build from there. They’ve got the right mindset for it.”

Senior leaders who could hasten that jump to relevance in the KLAA South Division include forward and captain Brian Oldani, assistant captains Spencer Rochowiak and Erik Wafer (both defensemen), forwards James Tucker, Marcus Cook and Nick Harwell.

“They’re all going to play a big role on the team,” Barath said.

So could senior forwards Javier Guadiana, Jacob McClune and goalie Isaac Salinas, who finally is healthy after an injury-ridden junior year.

Younger players also will have their say as to how quickly the Chiefs can rise in their division.

Barath listed junior returnees Matthew Eastman (center), Michael Gaffka (defense), Emmerson Taylor (forward), Michael Testani (defense). “All are going to contribute.”

Other juniors who could help the cause include forward Brett Cygan, defenseman David Gunnis, defenseman Jalen Miller and forward Michael Tucker.

Rounding out the roster are sophomore forwards Daniel Bourgeois and Joe Powers and sophomore goalie Donald Jardine.

“Daniel Bourgeois and Joe Powers, those are my two sophomore (skaters),” Barath said. “They’re making a big impact on the team. My sophomore goalie (Jardine) is going to get a little bit of time.”

It remains to be seen whether Canton will enjoy more victories than recent years, but Barath already has noticed a new attitude on his team. “They have an identity, they’re mentally in every game and they’re ready to work.”

Canton junior Matthew Eastman’s offensive skills could help propel the Chiefs to success this season.

Canton junior Matthew Eastman’s offensive skills could help propel the Chiefs to success this season.

One of Canton’s senior leaders is center James Tucker (No. 11).

One of Canton’s senior leaders is center James Tucker (No. 11).

Canton junior forward Michael Tucker (No. 10) is one of the players the Chiefs will be banking on during 2015-16.

Canton junior forward Michael Tucker (No. 10) is one of the players the Chiefs will be banking on during 2015-16.

tsmith@hometownlife.com

Twitter: @TimSmith_Sports

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