By Dave Leaderhouse
MELVILLE MILLIONAIRES, RW
The Melville Millionaires have had their share of struggles this year, but one thing that has been consistent is the play of forward Damian Bentz.
The soon-to-be 20 year-old (his birthday is this Sunday) leads the Millionaires in goals with 13 despite not having played in a game since Jan. 1 and prior to missing the last two contests the 5-foot-9, 160-pound product from Punnichy, Sask., had notched five points in his previous two outings giving him 13-15-28 totals on the season.
Bentz, who is closing in on eclipsing his totals from last year (he had 31 points in 47 games with Melville), was back in action this week when he competed with Team Kunitz at the inaugural SJHL/MJHL Showcase in Regina. Bentz picked up where he left off prior to his absence as he tallied a shorthanded goal in a 4-2 win over Team Belfour and then added an assist in a 5-2 decision over Team Zajac.
After three seasons of playing with the Yorkton franchise in the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League, where he registered 48 goals and 50 assists in 120 games and was named a second-team all-star in his final campaign, Bentz began his Junior “A” career with the West Kelowna Rockets of the British Columbia Hockey League last season. That stint on the other side of the Rockies only lasted four games, however, as he was brought back closer to home in a deal that only cost the Millionaires a player development fee.
Bentz finished his rookie season second in team scoring with the Millionaires, but Melville missed out on the post-season by just two points. This time around, the Millionaires appear to be headed for a post-season berth, but it will take continued consistent play from Bentz and others to hold off Yorkton and La Ronge.
A former ninth-round pick of the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft, Bentz has enjoyed a modestly successful career at the Junior “A” level. His play at the Showcase undoubtedly got noticed and getting the Millionaires back into the post-season will only pad his resume. With one more year of junior eligibility remaining, that portfolio, and the Millionaires, will only get better.
Tag(s): Young Guns