Jr. Blues off to Franchise Historic Start!

It might be a surprise to most, but the 2009-10 version of the St. Louis Jr. Blues is off to a franchise record start.  The Jr. Blues 16-0 start surpasses the 2004-2005 Jr. Blues 15-0 start.  Despite four National Championship Teams, this 16-0 start is one for the Jr. Blues record books.  Coach Jack Behan is in his 12th season of coaching the Jr. Blues and he has many positives to say about the recent squad. \”I knew this group had the makings of a good team back in camp in August.  They work hard and are very poised in pressure situations.  I like the start, I know the schedule maker has been kind to us with a majority of our difficult games ahead, but you obviously can\’t do any better than 16-0.\” 

The Jr. Blues offense has been led by numerous players with five Jr. Blues in the CSHL top ten scoring.  Chris Hutton 36 points, Nick Saracino 35 points, and Patrick Gregory 28 points, are the top 3 scorers in the CSHL.  Ryan McGrath 27 points is good for 5th in the CSHL and Tim Tankeev\’s 25 points is 10th in the CSHL.  Coach Behan comments:\”We are a tough team to defend against because 3 lines are scoring very well right now.  We have speed and skill up front with some grit to go with it, it\’s a nice combination.\”

The Jr. Blues defense and goaltending are tops in the CSHL allowing only 1.13 goals per game.  Denis Chaltsev leads the CSHL in goals against (1.00), save percentage (.958) while Josh Hillegas leads the CSHL in wins (9) and shutouts (4).   Team captain Barclay Berner is second in the CSHL in defense scoring with 12 points.   Coach Behan likes what he see\’s defensively: \”We thought we had some depth issues on the blue line coming in, but several things have transpired that have made this a strength.  Ryan Trenz conversion to defense has been huge for us as he gives us so much poise back there.  Our 3 returning veterans; Eric Aldag, Barclay Berner and Sean Gammage, have been terrific.   Our rookies have stepped it up as well, I am liking what I see so far.\”  Behan is even more excited about his goaltending: \”To win consistently at the Jr. A level you need top notch goaltending.  Denis Chaltsev and Josh Hillegas have been so steady and so consistent that it has given the entire team a boost of confidence.\”

While the Jr. Blues have enjoyed their start, coach Behan warns that good starts don\’t equal good seasons:  \”At this time last year, Toledo was running away with the league, but we battled back and edged them out by one point.  That is a great reminder to our players that nothing is ever won in October or September.  The team has its biggest challenges ahead with a very tough schedule the next two months.  I think we will all know a bit more about this team come Christmas time than we know now.\”