South Shore Kings,USPHL,NCDC,USA Junior Hockey

South Shore Kings: Goaltending depth remains key to climb through standings

The South Shore Kings simply have an embarrassment of riches in the nets.

By Joshua Boyd

It’s a tough choice for head coach John Gurskis to pick who is going to start each night, since he knows that no matter who he chooses has a great chance to win the game.

The Kings did a lot of just that in October and November, earning a point in 15 of 17 games and winning 10 of those.

Adam Mercer, a ’97 of Belchertown, Mass., posted an 8-0-2 record as of Thanksgiving. Aidan Murphy, a ’98 out of Walpole, Mass., was 5-2-0 and posted a 29-save shutout over the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders on Nov. 4.

Tyriq Outen, the youngest as a 2000-born, out of Tampa, Fla., stood at 2-2-1 – and his name can be found right there on the NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch list, which was issued Nov. 15.

“The NHL scouts really like Outen’s athleticism. He’s a tall, lanky goalie in the pro mold. Right now he’s at 6-feet-3-inches, and he’ll top out at maybe 6-5, 6-6,” said Gurskis. “You can tell he has that ‘it’ factor, but he’s still very raw.”

Outen was recognized as the 2016-17 USPHL 16U Goaltender of the Year. He made the gargantuan leap to the National Collegiate Development Conference.

“I see him getting better from a week to week practice standpoint,” said Gurskis. “Once he fills out and trusts his body, he will really be someone to watch.”

Up front, Derek Osik, a ’98 from Shrewsbury, Mass., has settled in well after playing in various places around North America, both close to home and farther afield.

Having played junior hockey in British Columbia and Ontario, he’s “home” again and led the Kings offensively at the first holiday break with 24 points in 22 games.

“He’s put up points no matter what level he’s played at,” said Gurskis. “He brings offensive consistency every game. Defensively, he’s still coming back and taking care of our own zone.”

Gurskis said Osik has great marks. That may make a great pickup for a New England Small College Athletic Conference school.

“A few [Division 1] schools want to see more of him. Getting off to the start he has the first few months has opened some eyes,” said Gurskis.

Center Jake Stella, out of Sweden, is “no question a Division 1 player,” Gurskis believes.

“He’s extremely tough in his own zone. In his first season in North America, he has made the transition offensively, where the time and space aren’t as much as in Europe,” Gurskis added. “From the defensive side of things, he’s one of the best I’ve had.”

Read past South Shore Kings articles in our archives:

Swiss product Bichsel key to NCDC hopes

Rook back to Kings, checkmate for NCDC squad