The 2016-17 Bantam AAA OHF Champions aren’t letting the success of last season get to their head. After narrowly losing out on a Kraft Cup, the Bantam Toronto Marlboros hit their stride during the Scotiabank GTHL Playoffs, defeating the first place Mississauga Reps in seven games to punch their ticket to the OHF Championships. The Marlboros’ momentum would continue into the OHFs as they captured the provincial title after a nail-biting 2-1 win over the York-Simcoe Express.
“It’s a brand-new season, and last year is done. We were very successful, but that was five months ago,” said co-captain Jamie Drysdale. “This is a new season and we think every team will be competitive. All titles are up for grabs.”
Eagar to stay competitive, the Marlboros held a two-week long training camp before participating in the heavily scouted Toronto Titans Prospect Tournament.
“We have five new teammates this year so we have been working on building team chemistry,” explained co-captain Lleyton Moore prior to the tournament. “The boys are very excited to get back on the ice to play the competition.”
Chemistry was built quickly for the Marlboros as they made a statement against 55 of the top Minor Midget teams from around the continent at the Titans Tournament. Going undefeated in the round-robin, the Marlboros made their way to the finals with ease, defeating the Vaughan Kings 3-0 to take the tournament.
Despite the pre-season success, Drysdale is reluctant to made judgments based on early bird competition.
“[Early birds] are a good opportunity to see the new lineups and systems of the other teams, however, we feel that you don’t really get to see what the teams will truly look like until after Christmas.”
The Marlboros started the GTHL regular season with a 3-0 win over the Toronto Red Wings. Click here for a full schedule.