GRAVENHURST - The South Muskoka Shield coaches made just one move at the trade deadline this year and the small tweaks paid immediate dividends in the team’s lone game last week.
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Rama Aces No. 18 Cody Block meets Shield defenceman Kyle MacDonald during GMHL action Jan. 11.
Photo by Richard Coburn
Team general manager and head coach Dallyn Telford pulled the trade trigger on a small deal with the Bracebridge Phantoms right at the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League’s trade deadline mid last week.
The three-player swap saw former Shield goalie Tomas Makarovic head north to the Phantoms while veteran defencemen Jumpei Suzuki and Marks Olesko came south in return.
“On Friday night it really showed our moves helped,” Telford said.
Makarovic, 19, from the Czech Republic, leaves the Shield with a 3-4 record with 33 goals against and 200 saves and will take the third netminder slot for his new team.
The left-handed Suzuki is in his second season in the GMHL, having played with Elliott Lake last year. This season he amassed eight assists in 17 games with the Phantoms and Telford said he brings experience to a blue-line that needed a little shoring up.
“He’s fast, smart and moves the puck well,” Telford said. “He’s bringing in some good experience and should be a big help as we push toward the playoffs.”
Olesko will be a familiar name to Shield fans; he began the season with South Muskoka before being traded early this season to the Phantoms for defenceman Michael Gambacorta. The Latvian brings one goal and nine assists in his 20 games this season, along with 39 penalty minutes. Telford said at more than six-feet tall and a speedy puck handler, Olesko was not only a talent he wanted to reclaim, but a familiar face in the locker room that will fit in easily with the camaraderie made there.
“We picked up two solid defenders and it’s going to make us a whole lot deeper on the back end,” Telford said, adding by having two more players on the blue-line, he’s been able to move two-way player Colby Jordan off the defensive side to a strictly offensive role.
“He can play either way for us, but he’s a natural forward and I think we’ll get the best out of him there,” Telford said.
The moves paid off as the Shield, facing Rama Jan. 11 on home ice, posted a big 6-1 victory with Jordan picking up two goals in his first game solely on the O-line.
Spencer Ashby and Larry McShane opened the scoring for the Shield in the first, with Jordan adding an early, second-period shorthanded goal to give his club a 3-0 lead before Rama got its lone goal late in the middle frame. On a power play, Wade Weisgerber added a little late second-period gravy before McShane and Jordan closed out the third with some icing for the 6-1 final.
The Shield remain in fourth place with the win and now sit with 42 points overall, four back of the Bracebridge Phantoms and four ahead of Powassan.
The Shield play next on Jan. 18 at the Lefroy Wave, followed by a Jan. 19 game in Sturgeon Falls and a rare Monday night game, Jan. 21 on the road to Orangeville.