By Bill Potrecz – October 23, 2023
The Port Colborne Sailors have asked Gabe Trozzo to grow up a little quicker than perhaps anticipated.
About six weeks into the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League season, the 16-year-old defenceman is already a mainstay on the blueline for the Sailors averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time a game, including three games of over 30 minutes of action.
“I think it’s been a great start to the year,” the Mississauga native said. “I’m really happy here with this team. It’s a great spot for me to develop and get better and I’m getting every opportunity.”
Trozzo, who played last season for the Mississauga Senators U16 AAA, was overlooked in the Ontario Hockey League draft and ended up at rookie camp in Port Colborne where he quickly impressed.
“My grandparents live in Fonthill and I heard the GOJHL was great development spot,” said Trozzo, who attends E.L. Crossley Secondary School.
Sailors assistant coach Chris Goulet, who handles the defenceman on the bench, loves Trozzo’s skills.
“He came to rookie camp and showed really well,” Goulet said. “He kind of brings a bit of everything. He’s averaged-sized but he’s thick and strong and so defensively he battles hard, he’s got really good feet so he uses that to get into position. He’s very aggressive, he likes to compete and engage in those battles physically.”
Trozzo, who recently potted his first junior goal, has nine points in 12 games and sees significant time on the power play.
“Offensively, you can see the point production,” Goulet said. “He’s doing well and the main thing he’s a pretty good first-pass guy and in the O-zone you can tell he’s got that confidence. He’s always got his head up, looking for plays. He battles hard in his own end and is sound defensively but he can push the pace offensively.”
Trozzo felt he could make the jump from minor to junior.
“I was confident in myself. I knew it would definitely take some work — you have to work hard no matter where you’re playing — I knew it was in my capabilities and I knew I would work hard to help my team every way I could,” he said. “Confidence is the most important thing in hockey. If you have confidence and trust yourself to go out and make plays, you’re going to have success. I just have to make sure I’m always trying to make the best play, not just be safe.”
He does admit it can be a challenge playing so many minutes versus older players.
“That’s the main adjustment, players are 20-years old,” he said. “They’re a lot bigger, a lot stronger. I have to work on making sure I’m not putting myself in vulnerable positions but also making sure I don’t lose the toughness in my game, that I continue to play the way I play and not let the age of the other players dictate that.”
While he was passed over in the OHL draft, Trozzo was selected by the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League where he attended a summer camp.
“The school path is main option,” said Trozzo, who is a top-notch student. “Green Bay looked like a great place to play but my options are completely open. As of right now, I’m on the Port Colborne Sailors and that’s what I’m focused on.”
Goulet feels Trozzo can play at the next level.
“Port has a track record and history and we do pride ourselves on developing players,” he said. “We want to see a kid like Gabe move on to a higher level.
“If he continues this way, he could create some options, the OJHL, or maybe he gets an OHL invite.”
The Sailors dropped a 4-1 decision to the Hamilton Kilty B’s Saturday at the Vale Centre. It was the fourth consecutive loss for the banged up Sailors who dropped to 6-5-2 and were without top forwards Nathan Kelly and Aiden Cupelli.
Sailors stuff: Nathan Kelly, Aiden Cupelli, Jonathan Graves, Justin McGuffin and Luke Cardiff-Bilodeau did not dress for the Sailors.
Kilty B’s 4 Sailors 1
Port Colborne goaltender Tucker Adams with 50 saves.
Port Colborne Sailors: Christiano Stogiannis (1).
Hamilton Kilty B’s: Luca Campolo (5); Anthony Giacalone (3); Luke Dekay (3); Quinten Lisle (1).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Port Colborne on Gabriel Longo (23), by Hamilton on Tucker Adams (53); Power plays: Port Colborne 0/4, Hamilton 0/1; Penalty minutes: Port Colborne 12, Hamilton 28.
Up next: The Sailors host Fort Erie Friday.
Corvairs 6 Meteors 2
The Caledonia Corvairs jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period en route to a convincing win at Fort Erie.
Zachary Naherne paced the winners with two goals while Dylan Wardell, Rocco Tavernese, Zack Lewis and Sami Douglas added singles.
Davis Penner earned the win with 24 saves.
Owen Penny and Blake Hall scored for the Mets, who went scoreless in six opportunities with the man advantage.
Falcons 5 Panthers 0
Cal Gardner made 22 saves for his second shutout of the season as the St. Catharines Falcons rebounded from a loss Friday to Fort Erie.
Luca Santostefano, with his first junior goal, Michael Colavecchia, Matthew Hlacar, Treyson Dewar and Tyler Hunt scored for the Falcons.
Meteors 4 Junior Canadians 0
James Gall made 22 saves for his first career junior shutout as the Meteors topped the Welland Junior Canadians in Welland Sunday night.
Hall, Kyle Adamo, Hunter Coley and Liam Beamish scored for the winners.
Ethan Labbe faced 43 shots in goal for Welland.
Welland at Hamilton, 7 p.m.
Caledonia at St. Catharines, 7 p.m.
Fort Erie at Port Colborne, 7:30 p.m.
Port Colborne at Fort Erie, 7 p.m.
St. Catharines at Caledonia, 7:30 p.m.
Hamilton at Pelham, 2:45 p.m.
Caledonia at Welland, 7 p.m.
1. Caledonia 10-2-0-1-21
2. St. Catharines 10-2-0-1-21
3. Fort Erie 10-4-0-0-20
4. Port Colborne 6-5-2-0-14
5. Hamilton 6-7-1-0-13
6. Pelham 5-9-0-0-10
7. Welland 2-13-1-0-5