17 Teams in 17 Days: Peoria Mustangs
The ‘17 in 17’ series features an in-depth look into all 17 NA3HL teams, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season on Saturday, September 8th. ‘17 in 17’ will go in-depth into each 3HL team and will include interview with all 17 3HL head coaches as they prognosticate and break down their outlook for the upcoming season.
Head Coach: Jean Guy Trudel
Assistant Coach: Steve Ortman
2011-12 Record: 22-23-3, 47pts. - 3rd in Central Division
Playoffs: Lost in the Division Finals to St. Louis, 2-1
2012-13 Division: Central (2011-12 Central)
Opening Night: Saturday, September 29th vs. Breezy Point – 6:45 pm at The Owens Rec Center (First game - September 8th at St. Louis)
Although the Peoria Mustangs lost their four top leading scorers for this upcoming season, they have managed to build a roster that will be worth the fight for 2012-13. Head Coach Jean Guy Trudel spent last season recruiting players who would fill the place of those moving on to the next level. This season, the Mustangs will be bringing in ten rookie forwards, five new defenseman and two new goaltenders. Along with the 17 new, are eight veteran players to teach them the ropes.
A returning player who you are sure not to forget is defensemen, and 2012-13 Mustangs Captain, Nikolas Sakellaropolous. Sakellaropolous had a stellar season last year for the Mustangs and also made the 2011-12 All-NA3HL 2nd team. Coach Trudel is looking up to Sakellaropolous to lead the new team into this season. Along with the captain, returning defensemen for the Mustangs are Joe Power-Wayvon and Blake Ortman. The four key returning forwards are Alexander Turin, Connor Millard, Austin Wisely and Gage Van Order. Between the pipes will be goaltender Michael Parda, who will be accompanied by rookie netminders Alex Reichle and Mathew Pinel. Trudel believes that his goaltending will be some of the best in the league this season.
Trudel and his assistant coach, Steve Ortman took the NA3HL draft seriously this year, and have managed to add seven players to the final roster. The Mustangs also developed a great partnership with the St. Louis Selects of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), and brought in three players from their 18U midget major program last year. Trudel credits the partnership of the leagues and events in finding new players to make up his roster each year. “Honestly, I want to build a program that my son can play at one day. What we do with the NAHL, NA3HL and NAPHL allows us to move players on to the next level, such as the NAHL, and scout players from the NAPHL to introduce them to the style of junior hockey,” he said.
The Mustangs look forward to the season and are focused on developing each player while creating great team chemistry on the ice. With new ownership in place with Paul Wayvon, the Mustangs look to take their program to the next level and focus on moving players on. As far as winning, “I never worry about anything,” Trudel said, “You can’t control what you cant control.”
The Mustangs will be playing exhibition games tonight and tomorrow against the Springfield Jr. Blues in the NAHL. The games are to promote the partnership between the leagues and get both teams ready for their upcoming seasons. Both games will take place in Springfield at the Nelson Center, tonight’s (Saturday) game starting at 6:00 pm and tomorrows (Sunday) game starting at 3:00 pm.