3View: Louisiana Drillers | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Louisiana Drillers

August 28, 2023

The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2023-24 season, with two teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 3View goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all the head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2023-24 season, including taking a look at their potential roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season. It will also take a look back on the 2022-23 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 3View will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.

Louisiana Drillers

Head Coach: Chris Francis (1st Season)

2022-23 Record: 32-14-1, 65 pts. (3rd in South Division)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Jack Lambert (66 points)

2023 Playoffs: Lost to Texas in the South Division Semi-Finals, 2-1

2023-24 Division: South

After narrowly missing the playoffs in their last two seasons, the Drillers took a step forward by finishing 3rd in the South Division. Newly appointed head coach Chris Francis is looking to build off that momentum and take another step towards winning the Fraser Cup.

“After having a taste of the Playoffs, the Drillers are determined to pick up where they left off and make another push for a successful season,” said Francis.

Francis, 34, recently finished up his pro career, playing in the ECHL for many years and two seasons in Germany. He comes from the assistant job with the Odessa Jackalopes of the NAHL.

“After retiring, coaching is something I really wanted to pursue.  I was fortunate enough that the Odessa Jackalopes brought me on as the assistant coach for the last two seasons.  I decided to get some head coaching experience and when Louisiana called it was an opportunity I could not say no to,” said Francis. “Development is very important to me, and my goal is to help players get to the next level and continue their playing careers. A prime example of this is Austin Alcala, who has since moved on to play college hockey."

Despite having numerous age-outs and players moving on, Louisiana is excited to bring back some key pieces from last season’s roster. “Players like Brody Neish, Colton Sebastian, Cheeno Gryska, Ethan Littlefield, and William Carney (are a good core of returning players).  These players are determined to help Louisiana be successful again this season on and off the ice,” said Francis.

Neish was one of the top offensive producers on the Drillers last season, scoring 29 goals and 47 points. Carney was the primary backstop, producing an impressive 0.79 GAA and .922 SV% stat line across 34 games played.

Francis also spoke on the importance of the incoming players to this year’s roster. “We have some new faces joining the team this season and they all will play a big part in helping Louisiana become a hockey town.  Players such as Johnathon Berndt, Charlie Benisch, Jake Bergstrom, and Brendan Johnson are ready to be here and compete for this team and better themselves every day.”

With the season just around the corner, Francis has goals not only to succeed as a team but also to provide opportunities for individuals to succeed and advance to the next level.

“I truly believe being a successful coach is building the right culture in and outside the locker room with bringing in the right players to help develop and move on.  I spent all summer looking for the right players and my goal is to push them every day to better themselves and get to the next level of competition.  I want my players to move on and get every opportunity possible.”

The Drillers will kick off their season with a six-game road trip against the Mid Cities Jr. Stars and Texas RoadRunners. Their season opener is on September 22nd.

Next Up: Mason City Toros

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