There are encouraging signs of progress being made relative to the Timmins Majors of the Great North Midget Hockey League.
Since starting the 2019-2020 regular season with a struggle and stumbling to a record of 0-4-2 in their first six matches, the Majors have managed a positive shift in direction over the past nine outings.
During the nine-game turnaround time, Timmins has ticked off a record of 6-3-0 to improve to 6-7-2 through 15 contests.
In fact, the Majors are just four wins shy of their victory total from the 2018-2019 campaign in which they posted a regular-season record of 10-25-1.
As for the gains made through their last nine games (6-3-0) compared to the win-less beginning (0-4-2), Majors head coach Brandon Perry has much to say about the reverse in fortunes.
“I think the biggest difference between our win-less start and our last nine games is credited to a few things,” Perry told Hockey News North. “A change in our systems has definitely worked in our favour. Our D zone coverage has been way better and that certainly takes a lot of pressure off of our goalies.”
Perry also pointed to the return of a pair of defensemen, Jeremy Jeffries and Tarcisus Tibishkogijig, from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, as key additions.
“Getting Jeremy back (from the Cochrane Crunch) and Tarcisius down (from the Timmins Rock) has steadied our blue line,” relayed Perry.
And that is not all, said the 30-year old Perry, a Timmins product who played four seasons in the Ontario Jr. Hockey League as a center with the Kingston Voyageurs and four more at the Canadian university level with the Queen’s Golden Gaels before suiting up for a part of a year in the minor pro ranks.
“The most important thing (to the turnaround) in my opinion is just the way we compete,” praised the third-year Majors coach. “Our forwards have certainly learned how to consistently compete. We are not overly big up front and teams tend to push around up there but the guys are figuring out how to respond and stick with it and continue to hunt pucks.
“We have a long way to go but the last nine, with the exception of one game, has been encouraging,” Perry said, in summation.
Individually, the Majors have five forwards who have hit double figures in points.
Landon Deforge leads the Majors parade with eight goals, 10 assists, 18 points followed by Pierre Racicot with 8-7-15 totals, Jesse Dupuis at 6-9-15, Harry Clark at 6-5-11 and Nolan Ring with 7-3-10 numbers. And Desmond Brazeau is closing in on double digits with five goals, four assists, nine points.
Defensemen are also chipping in with points.
Gavin Martel has four goals, four assists, eight points, Keaston (Sticks) Blais has 1-6-7 totals and Mason Berthiaume has 2-2-4 numbers in just nine games.
Meanwhile, Majors goalie Evan Nicholls is near the top of the goals against average department with a 3.55 mark. Nicholls played in the Great North as a minor midget last season with Sault Ste. Marie.