Danny Thomakos of the Spirit skates with the puck during his team’s 5-1 win over Buffalo during the OJHL Governors’ Showcase at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo Tuesday. (Ed McPherson / OJHL Images)
The Stouffville Spirit won both its games at the 2023 Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Governors’ Showcase in Buffalo this week.
Several Spirit players drew the attention of some of the 150-plus NCAA, U SPORTS and OHL scouts who took in the three-day event. Each of the OJHL’s 24 teams played two games, all of which counted in the league standings.
The Spirit won Game 1 by a 5-1 score over the host Buffalo Jr. Sabres Tuesday afternoon.
Player of the Game Lachlan Wells scored twice for the Spirit, who held period leads of 1-0 and 3-1. Other scorers were Danny Thomakos, Peter Kioussis and Duncan Grube. Matteo Gennaro made several key saves for the Spirit who were outshot 39-33. Riley Pope earned a pair of assists.
Two nights later, Kioussis wore the Player of the Game belt after scoring two goals of his own and assisting on two more in the Spirit’s 5-2 win over the Caledon Admirals. Linemate Odaro Ewere had a goal and two assists. Danny Thomakos and Riley Clark, with his first in the OJHL, had the other goals. Defenceman Andoni Fimis picked up three assists.
Stephen Toltl earned the win in net for the Spirit who outshot Caledon 37-20.
The Spirit arrived back at the Stouffville Arena early Friday morning. That afternoon it was back on the bus for a trek to St. Michael’s College School in Toronto.
A shorthanded goal by Ewere in the first period was all the Spirit could muster. The host Buzzers scored three times in the third period to win 4-1.
The Spirit’s record is 4-2-0-1, good for seventh place in the OJHL’s East Conference The good news? They’ve only played seven games, fewest of all 12 teams in the division. Four of the teams have played.
“Two very good games for us and it’s looking like we are going in the right direction,” defenceman Nathan Twohey told Ron Valentine of the OJHL, “but remember it’s still very early and we will have to stay focused and keep working to stay on the path we are on.”
Oct. 3, Spirit at Mississauga, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7, Spirit at Lindsay, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9, North York at Stouffville, 2:30 p.m.
Former Spirit defenceman Robert Powers was one of those scouts taking notes at the Showcase. A member of the 2012 OJHL championship team in Stouffville, he’s an assistant coach with Ontario Tech in Oshawa … Hockey Hall of Famer Scottie Bowman, whose grandson, Camden Bowman, is a Buffalo Jr. Sabres defenceman, was also at the Showcase.
Spirit This Week is sponsored by Farmer Jack’s in Stouffville and Sharon