Colts’ coach hints at ros­ter changes

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - SPORTS - TODD HAM­BLE­TON

Fif­teen games is a small sam­ple size.

But not tiny. And Jr. A Colts head coach Ian MacIn­nis may have seen enough al­ready.

“We’re go­ing to have to make some (ros­ter) changes,’’ MacIn­nis said mat­ter-of-factly on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, as his slump­ing team pre­pared for Thurs­day’ s night’ s home game against Hawkes­bury. “For the first time in many years, I’ m not keep­ing my eyes open( for po­ten­tial avail­able play­ers ), I’ m beat­ing down some bushes.’’

The Colts al­ready have ar­rived at the quar­ter-pole of their Cen­tral Canada Hockey League sea­son, and they’re get­ting there with frowns on their faces, hav­ing dropped three games in a row and five of the last six.

Corn­wall, com­ing off a pair of week­end road losses in which it was outscored by a cu­mu­la­tive 10-3, has an over­all record of 6-8-1-0, be­low .500, and in fourth place in their rel­a­tively new digs, the Yz­er­man Di­vi­sion.

The coach ac­knowl­edged there’d bean ad­just­ment pe­riod —“we ob­vi­ous­ly­lost some play­ers that were key guys,’’ he said — but the buzzer may soon be sound­ing for some skaters cur­rently with the club.

“There’s not enough stuff in this unit to pick up the slack (of early player de­par­tures),’’ MacIn­nis said.

Thurs­day night’s home game presents a big chal­lenge—a date with the high-fly­ing Hawkes­bury Hawks (8-4-0-0), win­ners of three straight games.

And for a team just 18 months re­moved from a post-sea­son it didn’t qual­ify for, many in the Colts or­ga­ni­za­tion are well aware that win­ning games in Oc­to­ber is vi­tally im­por­tant.

Put it this way: if the sea­son were over right now, the Colts would be in the play­offs, but by a ra­zor-thin mar­gin. Corn­wall is eighth over­all in the CCHL with 13 points, one point ahead of ninth-place Smiths Falls.

“These guys have had enough time to show me they’ re ready to com­pete (at a high CCHL level),’’ MacIn­nis said. “But too many of them don’t com­pete . . . too many guys are some­how spe­cial. I don’t get it.’’

Corn­wall’s top scorer is Chris Theodore, with 13 points, putting him 20th over­all in the league.

A deeper dive into the num­bers in­di­cates that the Colts so far have been an undis­ci­plined team that is only barely OK of­fen­sive ly, and hasn’ t been very pro­fi­cient in its own end.

Corn­wall leads the C CH L with 277 penalty min­utes. The Colts’ to­tal of 42 goals has them ranked sev­enth in the 12-team league; Corn­wall’s 51 goals al­lowed is the fifth-high­est to­tal.

There hasn’t been much power in the play—Corn­wal­lis 10 thin man ad­van­tagescor­ing pro­fi­ciency at 11.8 per cent.

Penalty killing hasn’t been a strength — Corn­wall is a league­worst 74.4 per cent.

The Colts do seem to have a knack for scor­ing short­handed goals, with five of them, be­hind only B rockville’ s six.

There will be a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the com­ing days to ac­cu­mu­late points, and make up ground in the stand­ings, but the coach­ing staff is far from sure that the cur­rent ros­ter is up for the job. The Colts play three times this week­end (Fri­day night in Smiths Falls and Sun­day af­ter­noon at Rock land ), and the team has seven games over a 15-day pe­riod.

TODD HAM­BLE­TON/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD­FREE­HOLDER

Jr. A Colts coaches Brock McBride (left) and Ian MacIn­nis at the team's Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon work­out at the civic com­plex.

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