By Dave Leaderhouse
MELFORT MUSTANGS, D
The Melfort Mustangs have returned to the upper echelon of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this year and the much-improved play of defenceman Kayle Tosh has played a big part in the turnaround.
Narrowly making the playoffs a year ago after winning the Canalta Cup championship the previous seasons, the Mustangs are firmly in the top-four overall this year and still have an outside chance at both the Sherwood Division and overall point’s titles.
With just three goals and seven assists in 50 games as a rookie last season, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Tosh experienced that downturn, but his seven goals and 19 helpers in 43 games this time around are reflective of how much the Mustangs have improved.
A big reason for the turnaround has been the play of special teams and with Melfort being among the leaders with the man advantage, the Beausejour, Man., product’s fingerprints are all over that success. Of his 26 points, 18 have come while Melfort is on the power play with Tosh scoring five times and assisting on 13 others when the Mustangs are enjoying the extra man on the ice.
Prior to coming to Melfort, Tosh, who will turn 20 on Feb 17, spent two years with the Eastman Selects of the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League. In 84 regular-season games with the Selects, Tosh had six goals and 45 assists and his performance during his final season garnered him a first-team all-star selection.
While not overly big by defencemen standards, Tosh does provide a bit of grit to the teams he plays for as he had 128 minutes in penalties while with the Selects and so far with Melfort he has 68 penalty minutes in almost two full seasons.
The Mustangs are poised to take another run at the league title and Tosh is expected to play a huge part in whatever success the team has going forward.
Tag(s): Young Guns