The Connecticut Oilers are moving sleekly through the summer, signing talent from both right in Connecticut, beyond and even further beyond (including three Europeans).
By Joshua Boyd
Most recently, the Connecticut resident signings have been the news, with both Zach Withington (of Branford, just outside of New Haven) and Peter Capone (of East Haven).
“Those are two guys who have the possibility of playing NCAA Division 1 hockey,” said Oilers head coach Karl Lindén. “They can get there with the right training, and that’s why they signed up with me. They really want to take their game to the next level, and I can teach them how to be a Division 1 skater. If you can’t skate, they’re not going to look at you.”
Withington comes out of Branford High School, where he was a Division 2 All-State selection in 2016. He captained the team this year.
“He is a ’98, and he has an extremely good shot,” said Lindén. “He is way better than the level he played last year. I’m hoping to tweak his game and teach him to become a better skater. With that, he’ll be able to use his shot in more game situations, rather than waiting for the perfect shot.”
Capone has spent the last two seasons with Worcester Academy, in Massachusetts.
“He is a ’97 and he brings a big body, but once he gets up to speed, you can’t stop him,” said Lindén. “We’re just working on the technical side of his skating and puck control. He and Zach will be big assets this year.”
Goalie John Kelly is another new signing, a Pennsylvania product of Downington. Kelly brings junior experience, having backstopped last year’s Philadelphia Junior Flyers team in the EHL 19U Elite Division. He previously played 18U Midget hockey with the Quakers Hockey program.
“We are extremely happy that he’s here,” said Lindén. “I’m hoping that, with the training of Connecticut Crease, a goalie training company we’ve begun a relationship with, that he can take his game to the next level. He can really have a year where he’s havinga lot of people talking to him.”
Connecticut Crease features goalie coaches with experience at the Canadian major junior and NCAA Division 1 men’s and women’s levels.