Southern Oregon Spartans

Southern Oregon Spartans: Coach hopes for advancement all around

Southern Oregon Spartans: Coach hopes for advancement all around

At the end of a season, there’s always time for reflection, introspection and optimism for a bright future.

In terms of reflection and introspection, the Southern Oregon Spartans reached the quarterfinals of the Western States League. In losing two shutout games to the Idaho Jr. Steelheads, they didn’t seem to have anything left after three tough games against the Ogden Mustangs.

“The boys really came together as a group, it’s been a very pleasurable experience coaching these kids,” said head coach Joe Grimaldi. “The team played very disciplined, they were very coachable, they played the systems to the best of their abilities, played them to a ‘T.’

“We don’t play to other teams’ levels, we make other teams play up to us,” said Grimaldi. “They’re winners. They come through in the clutch and I wish that I had that whole team for another year.”

The future is entirely uncertain for the Shamrocks players – and even their coach.

Grimaldi said he may be looking to move up the coaching ranks, just as his players push to play at the next level.

“I’m looking at some North American League and United States League teams myself, if an opportunity presents itself,” said Grimaldi. “This [Spartans] organization has been very good to me. They have a great group of owners who have treated me very well. It’s a first class operation.”

M.J. Melanson, a ’93 forward, led the team with 10 points in five playoff games (all 10 points came in three games). He is one of the group of older players that Grimaldi can certainly see moving on to a college team.

The Montreal native scored 14 points in 12 games after joining the team in early February.

Avik Bordak (47 points in 32 regular season games) and his brother Joe Bordak (29 points in 27 games) should have bright futures. Joe had seven points in four playoff games, while Avik didn’t play in the playoffs due to a late-season injury.

The ’92-born Orland Park, Ill., resident Dan Doyle impressed with 26 points in 38 games. Another ’92, Kevin Edwards, was close behind with 25 points in 24 games.

Forwards Sebastian Romeo (22 points in 12 games) and Taylor McConnell and defenseman Tommy Bennett joined the above-mentioned players and goalie Sean Buckley as “older guys who really brought it on the ice.”


Read past stories about the Spartans:Â

First signs of potential shown in new Western States League team

New energy powering defense, forward ranks

WSHL squad can see definitive defensive improvements

Southern Oregon Spartans: New energy powering defense, forward ranks

Southern Oregon Spartans: New energy powering defense, forward ranks

Head coach Mike Stanaway could hardly wait for the Southern Oregon Spartans’ first big test – their first as new members of the Western States Hockey League – against the league’s defending champion Idaho Jr. Steelheads on Sept. 7 and 8.

“That’ll be a good measuring stick for us. We’ve improved defensively and we’ve got an arsenal of firepower on the offensive side,” he said, in late August. “It’ll be the WSHL champs, a very well-coached and good, solid Idaho program, taking on the Spartans, last year’s Northern Pacific League champs.”

The Steelheads pulled off a come-from-behind win in the first game (3-2, after the Spartans held a 2-0 lead) and won 5-2 the second night.

Regardless of those preseason results, Stanaway believes this year’s Spartans are certainly upgraded from the 2011-12 edition.

“We just finished camp and things are looking good. We had a pretty deep team last year, but we’ve got a little more improvement at each position,” said Stanaway. “We want to get better every year and be able to upgrade. Hopefully, that will show.”

Along with the key veteran triumvirate of Connor Quinn, Nick DeSimone and Alex O’Leary, the defensive corps gets even deeper with the newcomers the Spartans have brought in.

Billy Vita is coming to the Spartans from the Alberta Junior Hockey League as a “big, physical defenseman.”

“I happened to see him skate in Madison (Wis.) at a showcase,” said Stanaway. “For how big he is, he skates tremendously well.”

Mike Kowicki is a northern Michigan product who played a regular shift for the Marquette Electricians Midget AAA team in the Northern Lakes Hockey League last year.

“He plays just like Luke Nickels, the NORPAC Defensive MVP last year,” said Stanaway. “Offensively, he’s gifted, and he has the speed to get back without missing a beat.”

Up front, the Spartans are expecting some rousing encores from Tim Talty, Nick Stirmel and Anthony Golio.

Talty, a ’92 from Tinley Park, Ill., announced in late August he’ll be returning to the Spartans after scoring a combined 99 points in 45 regular season and playoff games in the NORPAC last year.

“[Talty’s return] will obviously bring a boost of energy right into the lineup,” said Stanaway. “Stirmel is a speedy winger who does a good job bringing the puck to the net, and Anthony was great for us last year. He really put his time and effort in this summer.”

New recruits up front include some “terrific offensive players” such as Dan Doyle, Bobby Gervino and Pete Jorgensen (all formerly of the Chicago Bulldogs), Andrew Jarvis (St. Louis Frontenacs) and Max Rasmussen (Lake Erie Warriors Midget AAA).

Southern Oregon Spartans: WSHL squad can see definitive defensive improvements

Southern Oregon Spartans: WSHL squad can see definitive defensive improvements

With the Southern Oregon Spartans main tryout camp coming up on Aug. 17-19, the team is already thrilled with the players they have seen and signed for 2012-13.junior hockey, usa junior hockey, jr hockey, hockey magazine, Spartans, wshl

Spartans co-owner and director of hockey operations Troy Irving was especially happy with what the team had seen along the blue line.

“In our first camp there was a lot of strength and depth on defense,” said Irving.

One of those players was with the team last year, but Connor Quinn has improved quite a bit from his play last year for the Spartans.

“I thought he was tremendous,” said Irving. “He’s in great condition and playing with a lot of confidence. He played really well in front of the crease.”

Quinn is a ’92 from Yorkville, Ill., and previously played in both the Great Lakes Junior League and the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). More

Southern Oregon Spartans: Club likes skill level of incoming players

Southern Oregon Spartans: Club likes skill level of incoming players

It’s about a month and a half until the final invitation-only tryout camp for the Southern Oregon Spartans.

However, in the team offices at Medford, Ore., it’s as if it’s already September. By then, of course, the Spartans will be making their debut in the vastly expanded Western States Hockey League.

“Things are going pretty well. Coach [Mike] Stanaway went to several tryout camps and showcases to recruit kids for our Oregon, Wis., tryout camp,” said Troy Irving, the Spartans co-owner and director of hockey operations. “We brought back a dozen guys, including some guys who already had college commitments or were aging out. We put those kids with the new kids coming in. We had about 45 players trying out for spots.”