After two days of scrimmages, the handful of veterans returning to the Soo Greyhounds got into game action on Wednesday for the first time.
The opening two days of training camp for the Ontario Hockey League club saw the rookie crop in action with the veterans in the stand and while the usual suspects showed well in the likes of Tanner Dickinson, Rory Kerins, and Joe Carroll among others, it was the younger returnees that used Wednesday’s opportunity well.
“Sometimes guys come back and they’re just taking it a little bit easy and back adjusted to it, but the guys were really good tonight jumping in and setting the tone for it,” Raftis said.
“It was good to see Kalvyn Watson dominate play and Marc Boudreau who are, for all intents and purposes, coming off a rookie season, it’s good for them to come out and play with a lot of confidence right out of the gate,” Raftis added. “Seeing that elevated play gave us a good gauge of where the other ‘03s, ‘04s, and ‘05s are.”
Having entered camp without a returning goaltender this season, Raftis spoke prior to training camp of how the situation around the league will allow the opportunity for young goalies to establish themselves earlier than normal.
The current group in camp, which includes five drafted goaltenders in addition to free agent netminder Nathaniel Boyes, has shown well at times during the opening three days of camp.
“When you go through each one of them, they’ve each had good days,” Raftis said. “They’re all getting a little bit stronger as we go along. It’s a tough week because sometimes there’s some scrambly hockey.”
“I’ve been happy with them,” Raftis also said. “They’re all goaltenders that can move well and play the puck well. They’re all a good size, which is important in the way the position is played today. I was happy with that because when you look around the league, there’s going to be a lot of goalies that are inexperienced in games, but it’s a great opportunity for a young guy to take the net and run with it this year.”
As the team inches closer to the weekend, and exhibition play on Sunday afternoon, Raftis said some cuts will happen following scrimmages on Thursday.
A pair of scrimmages are scheduled for Thursday before the Red/White game on Friday and an exhibition game against the Sudbury Wolves on Sunday afternoon, all at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
With 55 players currently in camp, the team will trim that number down Thursday ahead of the Red/White game scheduled for Friday evening.
On the injury front, Raftis said that the status of rookie forward Tyler Savard, who has yet to play in a scrimmage in camp due to injury, on Thursday wasn’t known as of Wednesday evening.