Super start for Islanders in senior hockey league


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The Gananoque Islanders made a huge splash as they took their first dive into the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League pool on Saturday night.

The Islanders, one of eight expansion teams to join the formerly four-team senior men’s league since its last season of operation in 2019-20 before pausing for the COVID-19 pandemic, thumped the Bytown Royals, 13-2, in Gloucester.

The bulk of the offence was supplied by the quartet of Wyatt Cota, Brock Higgs, Tom Dickson and Ben Blasko. Cota led the way points-wise with seven (three goals, four assists), Higgs, with five points, and Dickson scored four goals apiece, and Blasko netted a goal and added three assists.

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Aaron Naphan scored the only other Gananoque goal as the Islanders outshot Bytown, 74-29. The lone Bytown goals allowed by Gan goaltender Cam Parr came from Dakota Ostrowski and Nicholas Ngwafusi.

Another local expansion team, the Frontenac Phantoms, wasn’t quite as successful as Gan was. After owning a 2-1 lead heading into the second period, the Phantoms were edged 6-5 by the Tweed Oil Kings.

Brett Beckett paced Tweed with two goals and two assists, while Andrew Rhynold also scored twice. Jake Gunning and Joel Marshall netted the other goals. Replying for Frontenac were Matt Horton, with two goals, and Jessayah Vienneau, Brody Taylor and Andrew Dekroon, with one apiece.

The Islanders play twice this coming weekend, hosting the West Carleton Rivermen on Friday at 8:15 p.m. before travelling to Chesterville on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for a meeting with the North Dundas Rockets.

The Phantoms are in Cornwall on Saturday at 8 p.m. for a game against the Prowlers.

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