By CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — John Posler got caught up in a numbers crunch.
Stuck behind David Krejcik, the top goalie in the Midwest Junior Hockey League so far this season, Posler was traded by the Traverse City Hounds on Monday to the Southern Oregon Spartans of the Western States Hockey League.
“With Johnny it was just a numbers thing,” said Traverse City Hounds coach Scott Gardiner. “Johnny had great numbers last year, but our goalie is playing so well right now I have a hard time taking him out. He’s the No. 1 goalie in the league. He’s just standing on his head and Johnny wants some more ice time and I think he’s going to get a shot with Southern Oregon to be their No. 1 goalie.”
In exchange for Posler, Southern Oregon dealt forward Adam Jonak and goalie Hunter Myers to the Hounds. Both are expected to be ready to play when Traverse City travels to Alpena on Friday night. Traverse City (11-1-0-2) is in first place in the MWJHL standings.
“We’re picking up a Czech forward (Jonak), small and quick,” said Gardiner. “He’s an offensive-type guy, which we could certainly use more scoring. We’re picking up a goaltender named Hunter Myers, who is from Farmington. Two-for-one.”
Jonak has seen action in five games for the Spartans and recorded one assist. Myers has not appeared in a game for Southern Oregon this season.
In two games, Posler, who played for the Traverse Bay Reps in high school, posted a pair of wins — an 8-0 victory over the Michigan Ice Dogs on Oct. 18 and a 14-2 win against the Berkley Bruins on Oct. 5. He made 45 saves in those outings. But Krejcik has been a brick wall in net for the Hounds, going 7-1-0-2 and ranking tops in the MWJHL with a 1.48 goals against average. He’s only allowed 15 goals in 10 games. Like Posler, Colton Lewicki, the other goalie on the Hounds roster, has played in two games.
Posler, who could not be reached for comment, was acquired by the Hounds on June 30 after splitting last year with the Soo Firehawks, the Holland River Bandits and the Michigan Grrrowl.
The team Posler was traded to is an anomaly in that nearly half the roster is made up of players from Michigan. Included among them are three players from northern Michigan in brothers Ben and Jason Henry from Alpena, and Mike Kowicki from Gaylord.
“I think they have a lot of Michigan ties, either their coaching staff or something,” said Gardiner. “As a second-year league (MWJHL) I’d like to get a lot of those guys, or future players, to stay in Michigan. That’s the whole idea.”
Gardiner said Posler will find the WSHL to be comparable to the MWJHL.
“I’d say we’re on equal footing. We just have a lot less teams, that’s all,” said Gardiner, who noted the WSHL’s Idaho Jr. Steelheads won the national championship last year.
Southern Oregon has struggled so far this year, going 2-7-0-1, which has the Spartans last in the Northwest Division.