By Adam Laskaris
Jake Evans made a fantastic first impression with the St. Michael's Buzzers on Friday night.
In his first game with the Buzzers, Evans scored two goals and added two assists in the Buzzers' 9-3 win over the struggling Pickering Panthers at Pickering Recreation Complex on October 14th.
Just 15 years old, the baby-faced Evans comes to the Buzzers as an affiliated player from the Mississauga Rebels organization.
Despite the strong showing, it's the only game Evans has lined up with the Buzzers so far. That being said, it's likely that Evans will play more with the Buzzers this season.
"He's hopefully one of our future players here," said head coach Rich Ricci. "If the opportunities arise, we'd like to see him again."
Maybe the most surprised by the youngster's big night was Evans himself.
"I thought I'd only get a few shifts," said Evans. "I was surprised to get the second goal of the game."
Evans had just one practice with the team and two days notice that he'd be playing on Friday.
Evans wasn't the only one to step it up in the win. Nicholas Lepone scored two goals and contributed three assists while Tom Haley added a goal and two assists. Both Lepone and Haley were playing on the fourth line with Evans.
Evans felt that his linemates and teammates created a positive atmosphere for his first game.
"They're great guys, very welcoming." Evans said. "I felt really comfortable after a while."
Ricci was quite pleased with to see a strong effort put forward by the whole team.
"Any time your fourth line can get five goals, that's a nice thing," he said. "You don't often see that at any level of hockey."
Lepone felt that the ice time his line received was key to their offensive outburst.
"After the first goal, we started playing a little bit more and felt more comfortable," he said.
The Buzzers took a 2-0 into the first intermission and built it to 5-0 after two. Starting goaltender Adrian Ignagni made 13 saves on 13 shots in the first 40 minutes, after which he was replaced by backup goaltender Justin Urquhart. Urquhart allowed three goals on 12 shots, in his first action of the season.
Lepone speaks very highly of Ignagni's play.
"Best goalie in the league, for sure," he said.
St. Michael's other four goals were scored by Michael Neville, Mark Cooper, CJ Shugart, and Daniel Milne.
The Buzzers were fairly dominant all night long, outshooting the Panthers 36-25. Pickering showed signs of life in the final frame as they scored three goals, however it would not be enough as St. Michael's was simply overpowering from start to finish.
Lepone emphasized the importance of playing a full sixty minutes, even with large lead.
"(We had to) keep it serious in between periods in the room," said Lepone.
This was the second meeting between these two teams this season, with a similar result to the first game. The Buzzers defeated Pickering 8-2 on September 11, with the game taking place at St. Michael's College School Arena.
St. Michael's improved to 14-0-1 with the win, still tops in the South Division, while Pickering sits in last place in the South Division with a 2-8-1 record.
Next up for the Buzzers is likely their biggest test of the season so far on Saturday night. The Buzzers face the 11-0 Trenton Golden Hawks in Cobourg as part of the Governor's Showcase. The matchup, which is set to start at 7:30 p.m., features the top two teams in the South-East Conference standings.
"We preached from day one that we prepare for every game the same way regardless of who we're playing," said Ricci. "(We're going to prepare) the same way we do with every other team. Nothing special."