Texas, its a big state, and its now becoming known for developing big time hockey players. It was only two seasons ago when A J Smith was manning the nets for the U-18 Dallas Icejets. Fast forward two seasons and smith is anchoring the goal crease for the NOJHL expansion Elliot Lake Wildcats.
Turning aside all 27 shots he faced Sunday night against the Powassan Voodoos in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Centennial Arena, Smith was simply dominating.
“He made three saves that were critical, three saves that could have been goals against for any goaltender.” Said Wildcats General Manager Todd Stencill “He’s played well since he has been here, but last night was exceptional.”
With the victory the first-year Wildcats ran a team-best winning streak to three straight, improving to 3-1 on the season.
“We are here to represent the community on and off the ice in the best way possible.” Continued Stencill “We want to win every night, yet not forget we are here to develop players to move them on to the next level. I think we are accomplishing those goals, and we will look to improve on our results in those area’s as we look to represent our community.”
A J Smith went to the NOJHL this season to solidify his NCAA opportunities. While uncommitted, Smith has garnered interest from several NCAA D-1 and D-3 programs, and will look to make a commitment near the Holiday break this winter.
Photo: Chris Dawson