The OFA Hockey team will be looking to draw strength from its leadership core and depth as it ventures into an early season opening this weekend. The Blue Devils will embark into another very challenging schedule by hosting two strong Western New York teams in Grand Island at 7 p.m. on Friday night and Kenmore East at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
We have two quality teams coming this weekend. Kenmore East won the state title two years ago. Section 6 starts a week ahead of us and they (KE, GI) will also play St. Lawrence Central and Salmon River, said Coach Jon Frederick who will team with Associate Coach Matt Morley looking to replace the leadership lost through the graduation of NAC Division II MVP and 30-goal scorer Brandon Mullin, a second team All-NAC selection in Gian Rufa on defense and three very strong players in Jake Garrison, Joe Giglio and DJ Swan.
Returning to lead the Devils will be a First Team All-NAC and First Team All-State selection in junior goaltender Dave Prudhomme and senior tri-captains in forwards Jon Tayler and Zach Barr coming off outstanding football seasons and defenseman Burke Comeau who has dedicated himself to playing organized hockey year-around.
All four played key roles in last years 10-7-4 team which went 9-3-2 to place second by one point to St. Lawrence in the NAC Division II standings forged a 10-game winning streak which includeds victories over teams ranked in the top five of the state.
The junior, sophomore, freshman and 8th grade classes have all produce candidates who have created a spirited intrasquad competition for playing time.
We are going to go through some growing pains but we will be competitive, especially with a proven defender in net in Dave Prudhomme. He has the ability to keep us in every game. He proved that in big games with Massena and Rochester McQuaid last season and he is looking to prove it again said Frederick.
No doubt we will have to work for our goals. Matt (Morley) and I would love to see five or six guys have six or seven goals apiece.
Candidates to do that abound in the forward ranks which includes: seniors Jon Tayler, Zach Barr and Andrew Roddy; juniors Austin Putnam, Nolan Rufa and Austin Morley-Sloan; sophomores Dylan Jock, Mark Morrow and Isaac Sovie, freshmen Jacob Awan and Aidan Putnam and eighth graders Jared Barr, Brody Woods, Easton Garvey, Jackson Troiano.
Burke Comeau and David Middlemiss will anchor the defensive crew and are definite threats score from the point. Andrew Putnam, Matt Sholette, Jake Sholette, Jared Berg and Jordan McCauley are also competing for regular spots in the blue line rotation and Zach Weston, Willy Lanfear and Eddie Swan lend further depth.
Sophomore Adam Bouchey will back up Prudhomme in goal and has been cited for his work ethic and improvement. OFA will open NAC play on Dec. 3 at Malone.