September 13, 2018 4:37 pm

Gananoque Junior C Islanders show remarkable improvement

With an eye on the playoffs, the Gananoque Junior C Islanders open there season this weekend

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The Gananoque Junior C Islanders look forward to the season ahead.

The home opener is Sunday night at the Lou Jeffries Arena against the Uxbridge Bruins. Game time is 7 p.m.

READ MORE: Islanders prospects camp hopes to land some new players

After missing the playoffs last year in the Tod Division of the Provincial Junior League, the Islanders embarked on a rebuilding program for 2018-19.

Last year they finished with a dismal record of 8-31-1.

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“We’re a lot better than last year,” said returning forward Gary Smith.

“We had a great training camp and won three out of four exhibition games. We’ve got some new players and we’re looking pretty good.”

Among the changes for this year is a new coach and general manager. Brian Begbie takes over the bench from Robb Bowman, while Randy Casford assumes the GM responsibilities.

The Islanders have also signed a player affiliation agreement with the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior A Hockey League.

READ MORE: Gananoque Junior C Islanders announce a new coach

One of the talented newcomers on the team is 17-year-old Matt Donovan. The Gananoque native played last season for the Greater-Kingston Midget Frontenacs.

“Being a hometown boy, I look forward to helping the Islanders improve,” Donovan said.

“I’m really excited about the rebuild. We’ve brought in some talented new players which should help in our bid to make the post-season. Making the playoffs is our number one goal.”

The Islanders open the season on Saturday in Amherstview against the Jets and then on Sunday play the home opener against Uxbridge in one of 14 interlocking games against teams in the Orr Division of the PJHL.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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