At the end of a season, thereâ€™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 didnâ€™t seem to have anything left after three tough games against the Ogden Mustangs.
â€œThe boys really came together as a group, itâ€™s been a very pleasurable experience coaching these kids,â€ said head coach Joe Grimaldi. â€œThe team played very disciplined, they were very coachable, they played the systems to the best of their abilities, played them to a â€˜T.â€™
â€œWe donâ€™t play to other teamsâ€™ levels, we make other teams play up to us,â€ said Grimaldi. â€œTheyâ€™re winners. They come through in the clutch and I wish that I had that whole team for another year.â€
The future is entirely uncertain for the Shamrocks players â€“ 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.
â€œIâ€™m looking at some North American League and United States League teams myself, if an opportunity presents itself,â€ said Grimaldi. â€œThis [Spartans] organization has been very good to me. They have a great group of owners who have treated me very well. Itâ€™s a first class operation.â€
M.J. Melanson, a â€™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 didnâ€™t play in the playoffs due to a late-season injury.
The â€™92-born Orland Park, Ill., resident Dan Doyle impressed with 26 points in 38 games. Another â€™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 â€œolder guys who really brought it on the ice.â€
Read past stories about the Spartans:Â