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Troops look to turn things around

Unfortunately for fans of the Brampton Battalion, the “dress-rehearsal” to the 2011-12 season hasn’t shown much to get excited about thus far…at least on home ice anyways.After a victory at Kitchener in the first exhibition game of the season, the Troops dropped the second half of the home-and-home by a decisive 5-1 score. Six days later, the Battalion ended up on the wrong end of another 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Guelph Storm.

The latter of the two home losses comes with some form of solace for Battalion fans. Six of their core-players going into this season are off at NHL rookie camps and eventually possibly training camps. Zach Bell, Matej Machovsky, Barclay Goodrow, Sam Carrick, Phil Lane and Ian Watters are all chasing the dream of taking the next step towards playing professional hockey.

While Carrick and Lane were draft picks of Toronto and Phoenix respectively, the other four have been invited to participate on a tryout basis. Zach Bell went to San Jose to man a defensive spot with the Sharks rookies. Matej Machovsky drove down the road from Brampton to Oshawa and is participating in the rookie tournament there with the Ottawa Senators organization. Barclay Goodrow took his talents to Traverse City so that he could participate in that tournament with the Carolina Hurricanes rookies. Finally, Ian Watters is playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins rookies in Oshawa competing against both Machovsky and Carrick.

Their expected return to Brampton will bolster the Troops lineup and shore up the trouble areas that they have faced thus far. They will also be coming back with some added intangible experience that will be invaluable to a junior player.

On the other hand, there have been some bright spots for the Battalion fans to get excited about. Over-ager Mitchell Porowski has been a horse for the Battalion up front. His 6’4” frame gets some speed behind it and has at times been too much for opposition defenders to handle without hauling him down. Import pick Patrik Machac has also looked like a dangerous scoring threat up front. Given some time and exposure to the North American game, he can learn to lead the offensive charge in Brampton. Add in the ingredient of a young yet experienced Battalion defense and you have the makings of a solid team.

As the season unfolds, a clearer picture will be painted of what this year’s Battalion installment is made of. Right now, speculating is all we can do. But it is sure fun to speculate isn’t it?

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