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Cornwall Colts: Coach hints at roster changes

By Todd Hambleton, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 4:58:10 EDT PM

Fifteen games is a small sample size.

But not tiny.

And Jr. A Colts head coach Ian MacInnis may have seen enough already.

“We’re going to have to make some (roster) changes,’’ MacInnis said matter-of-factly on Wednesday afternoon, as his slumping team prepared for Thursday’s night’s home game against Hawkesbury. “For the first time in many years, I’m not keeping my eyes open (for potential available players), I’m beating down some bushes.’’

The Colts already have arrived at the quarter-pole of their Central Canada Hockey League season, and they’re getting there with frowns on their faces, having dropped three games in a row and five of the last six.

Cornwall, coming off a pair of weekend road losses in which it was outscored by a cumulative 10-3, has an overall record of 6-8-1-0, below .500, and in fourth place in their relatively new digs, the Yzerman Division.

The coach acknowledged there’d be an adjustment period — “we obviously lost some players that were key guys,’’ he said — but the buzzer may soon be sounding for some skaters currently with the club.

“There’s not enough stuff in this unit to pick up the slack (of early player departures),’’ MacInnis said.

Thursday night’s home game presents a big challenge — a date with the high-flying Hawkesbury Hawks (8-4-0-0), winners of three straight games.

And for a team just 18 months removed from a post-season it didn’t qualify for, many in the Colts organization are well aware that winning games in October is vitally important.

Put it this way: if the season were over right now, the Colts would be in the playoffs, but by a razor-thin margin. Cornwall is eighth overall in the CCHL with 13 points, one point ahead of ninth-place Smiths Falls.

“These guys have had enough time to show me they’re ready to compete (at a high CCHL level),’’ MacInnis said. “But too many of them don’t compete . . . too many guys are somehow special. I don’t get it.’’

Cornwall’s top scorer is Chris Theodore, with 13 points, putting him 20th overall in the league.

A deeper dive into the numbers indicates that the Colts so far have been an undisciplined team that is only barely OK offensively, and hasn’t been very proficient in its own end.

Cornwall leads the CCHL with 277 penalty minutes. The Colts’ total of 42 goals has them ranked seventh in the 12-team league; Cornwall’s 51 goals allowed is the fifth-highest total.

There hasn’t been much power in the play — Cornwall is 10th in man-advantage scoring proficiency at 11.8 per cent.

Penalty killing hasn’t been a strength — Cornwall is a league-worst 74.4 per cent.

The Colts do seem to have a knack for scoring shorthanded goals, with five of them, behind only Brockville’s six.

There will be a lot of opportunities in the coming days to accumulate points, and make up ground in the standings, but the coaching staff is far from sure that the current roster is up for the job. The Colts play three times this weekend (Friday night in Smiths Falls and Sunday afternoon at Rockland), and the team has seven games over a 15-day period.