The Peterborough Petes organization has been highly regarded in the ranks of Major Junior Hockey for many years. It boasts a proud record of sending more graduates into the National Hockey League than any other CHL franchise.
Yet, despite the constant turnover of quality players anually, the Petes have been able to maintain a competitive team each season. The Petes are hoping that this trend will hopefully continue for the ’99-2000 edition of the club. Last season’s fourth place finish was a disappointment for the Petes.
After challenging traditional rivals Oshawa, and the strong Belleville club for second place most of the season, the Petes faltered in the home stretch and then were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Generals. The ’99-2000 season will be a season of “ifs” for Peterborough. IF promising players such as Jason Williams and Preston Mizzi can bring their games up to the next level the Petes will compete for the division lead with Belleville and defending Memorial Cup champions the Ottawa 67′s. IF the Petes also receive strong goaltending from last year’s surprising tandem of Mike Pickard and Joey MacDonald this will also boost the Petes chances. Finally, IF new players in the lineup, such as Steve Montador and Marcel Rodman play as well as they are expected to, the Peterborough Petes may well be on the way to adding another chapter to their proud team history.
The Petes have some huge holes to fill offensively. The departure of 41 goal scorer Scott Barney to the pro ranks will hurt. Adding to the offensive woes are the departure of forwards Robert Francz (25G-32A-57PTS) and Pat Kavanagh (26G-43A-69PTS). To fill these holes, it is hoped that promising forward Jason Williams will build on his outstanding performance of last season (26G-48A-74PTS). The Petes will also need strong offensive numbers from Preston Mizzi (29G-29A-58PTS), Jamie Chamberlain (15G-24A-39PTS) and John Brioux (14G-28A-42PTS). It is also hoped that rookie import pick Marcel Rodman will step into the lineup and provide some scoring punch as well as perhaps helping last year’s import, Russian Sergei Kuznetsov, realize his offensive potential. Other rookies vying for roster spots at forward are Ryan Ramsay and Jon Howse.
The blueline will be led this upcoming season by newly acquired rearguard Steve Montador. This overager acquired from Erie on draft day this year is expected to provide leadership as well as guidance to young Petes defensemen such as Dustin Wood, Matt Carkner, Kurtis Foster, Brandon Verner and B.J Ketcheson. The Petes are also hoping for the return of Jeff McKercher from Dallas’ pro camp. His presence woulde be a huge boost to the Petes blueline. Rookies hoping to crack the defense corps include T.J Eason.
It is often said that a team is only as good as its goaltending. Last Season, the Petes rode the strong goaltending of Mike Pickard and Joey MacDonald for much of the year. Their strong play was pleasant surprise for the Petes who were left scrambling for goaltenders at the start of last season when their first pick in the OHL draft, Aron Molnar, refused to report to the team. Rookie Mike Pickard was then paired with former Halifax Moosehead (QMJHL) goalie Joey Macdonald and both produced a solid season between the pipes. For the Petes to succeed this year, they will need a repeat performance from both of these young men.
The Peterborough Petes franchise consistently fields competitive teams each year in the OHL. This year, if the Petes get strong performances from their returning players, the high calibre goaltending they received last year, as well as timely contributions from their newcomers, then there is no reason why the Petes shouldn’t challenge Belleville and Ottawa in a dogfight for the lead of the always competitive Eastern Division.