NOJHL team preseason preview: Espanola Express



Release Date: Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017

NOJHL team preseason preview: Espanola Express

SUDBURY, Ont. – A busy off-season, a solid amount of exhibition games and the return of a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League championship-winning head coach has things looking up for the Espanola Express.

Express team president and general manager Chad Clarke and director of operations Randy Blake along with the Espanola faithful certainly had to be pleased with the return of head coach Tom McCarthy to guide the club’s fortunes behind the bench for the upcoming campaign.

Having retooled the program after a disappointing 2016-17 season, the club aims to reverse its fortunes from a year ago.

Here’s a look at the seventh of 12 NOJHL team preseason previews; the Espanola Express.

Head Coach – Tom McCarthy
General Manager – Chad Clarke

NOJHL: What are your expectations for the club heading into the 2017-18 season?

CHAD CLARKE: We have high expectations moving forward this season. We have rebuilt our program from the ground up and I like where we are at to start the new season.

NOJHL: Give us your thoughts on what you’ve seen from your team so far.

CC: We have a good young core of talented hockey players. Speed and size will be our biggest asset this year.

NOJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you expect big things from?

CC: Connor Tessier has worked very hard this off season and his progress has been quite visible both on and off the ice so far. He had league career highs in goals, assists and points in his first year with us. He has three points in our first three preseason games as well, including a game-winner. Josh Zlatinszky is a high-end defenceman in our league and was second in rookie scoring among D on our team last year. Josh has worked very hard this off-season to improve his game and I believe he will be a dominating force on the ice for us this year.

NOJHL: Who are some newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with early on?

CC: 1997-born goaltender Jacob Hutchings has been an absolute stone wall since our players took to the ice at training camp. He has played very strong and impressed our staff both on and off the ice. Hutchings split last season with the Guelph Hurricanes (GOJHL) and the North York Rangers (OJHL). 2000-born forward Tristan Poissant brings an exceptional level of skill to the Express team and will very quickly become a fan favourite in Espanola. He is very skilled and very young. We look forward to a bright future with him. He played previously for Division 1 Bourget, a private school in Quebec.

NOJHL: How much of a boost is it for the organization having the return of Tom McCarthy as head coach?

CC: We are absolutely excited for the return of Tom McCarthy to our club this season. To have a coach of his experience and knowledge will be unrivaled by any other team in our league. Tom will definitely be an integral part of our success this season.

NOJHL: What goals do you have heading into the start of the regular season?

CC: With our six exhibition games before the season starts, we will be looking to gain some momentum for the start of the regular season. Once the regular season starts we would like to hit the ground running.

NOJHL: Any final thoughts or comments you’d like to offer.

CC: We have worked hard this off-season building a competitive team for right now and a good base for long term success. We are pleased where we are at right now and look forward to a successful season.

Preseason games/Results
Aug. 29 @ French River Rapids (4-2 Loss)
Aug. 31 vs. French River Rapids (3-2 Win)
Sept. 1 vs. Cochrane Crunch (7-2 Loss)
Sept. 2 vs. Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) 12 p.m. (Tim Horton Event Centre)
Sept. 2 vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 8 p.m. (Jus Jordan Arena)
Sept. 3 vs. T.B.A. 12 p.m. (T.B.A.)

Twitter: @Espanola Express
Facebook: /espanolaexpress