The Portland Jr. Pirates enjoyed their best month of the season yet, winning five of their last eight before the end of November.
Helping the Pirates to gain some big points was their leading point-scorer Haralds Egle and also a rising defenseman in the league, Bradley Smelstor.
These are two players in particular whom general manager Brad Church can see in the NCAA Division 1 ranks down the road.
Egle probably has longer to go, especially as a 1996-born player. He originates from Latvia, and the Pirates were able to utilize their contacts through associated ventures of the Maine Hockey Group.
â€œWe have some international contacts through our Selects Hockey spring/summer programs. Last year, he played for the Green Mountain Glades and came over in the transition with the relocation,â€ said Church. â€œHaralds is a top 20 scorer in the league, and he certainly leads our team in scoring. Heâ€™s attracting a lot of Division 1 attention.â€
Egle has scored 10 goals and 22 points in 21 games.
â€œHe is just a gifted players,â€ said Church. â€œIn my mind, he has pro upside. Heâ€™s a â€™96- born player with the ability to dominate at times. Heâ€™s just a pure talent.â€
There are some aspects of Egleâ€™s game that the Pirates want to smooth out before they send him on to the next level wherever, and whenever, that may be.
â€œHe needs to learn to play within the system, play away from the puck and be reliable defensively,â€ said Church. â€œItâ€™ll come. He is a young player, and weâ€™ll continue to drive those things with him. Weâ€™re hoping he can play at the highest level possible and weâ€™re looking forward to working with him for years to come.â€
Smelstor came to the Pirates from St. Paulâ€™s School in Concord, N.H.
â€œWe brought him in this year and his game has improved, which has allowed us to improve as a team,â€ said Church. â€œHeâ€™s not a very flashy player, but heâ€™s steady, consistent and strong. And heâ€™s a nasty defenseman â€“ we match him up against the other teamsâ€™ top lines consistently.â€
The Pirates hope that there is a Division 1 college out there looking for a good, solid defensive defenseman for the future.
â€œI think heâ€™s a Division 1 defenseman. He goes a little unnoticed because he doesnâ€™t put up big numbers,â€ said Church. â€œHeâ€™s a quiet leader of our team, heâ€™s not a rah-rah type of guy, but in elevating his game, he has helped our whole group.â€