by Brian Rappleyea
In his third season at OJS, the lefty shooting forward and ’99 birth year Connor Smart has begun this campaign with more of what GM/Head Coach Martin Dagenais has expected from his alternate captain, consistent play and leadership.
Dagenais on Smart coming into the season:
“Connor will be asked to provide offense in a top six role and will be given the opportunity to play lots of minutes. He’s so quick and shifty, therefore it makes it very difficult for opposing defensemen to contain him. While we want to continue working with him on his two-way game, we think he will be a big factor in whether or not our team is successful scoring goals this season.”
After 14 games played, Smart, a native of Keswick, ON had accumulated four goals and six assists for 10 points. The 20-year-old posted a goal and two assists in a 7-3 victory over the Cornwall Colts on October 10th. Last season Smart had 32 points (17G, 15A) in 58 games, and the year before that had 31 points (13G, 18A) in 58 matches.
“My speed is definitely one of my biggest attributes,” said Smart. “I’m a little bit of a smaller guy so I try to use my speed to my advantage and try to get that step on the defender. I think I have a pretty good shot, too, and I try and mix that in with my quickness to try and beat the defenders and goalies.”
At 5-9 and 160 pounds, Smart might not be the biggest in terms of size on the ice, but he certainly has one of the larger roles for the Junior Senators, with this his second season as being as an Alternate Captain.
“I had some experience last year when we had a good group of leaders with guys such as Darcy Walsh,” Smart said. “We want to take the young guys and show them the way we play at OJS and help them out through tough times. The season can get pretty long and there aren’t always positives but we want to stay even keeled throughout the year.”
Since his arrival at the club, Smart has been a top guy for Dagenais. The way the Junior Senators have been playing has yielded them two consecutive Bogart and Fred Page Cup and two appearances in the RBC Cup where OJS has lost in the semifinals both times, with Smart being a big contributor in each of those runs:
“Hopefully we can go as far as we can this season,” Smart added. “The last couple of years we made it out to the RBC Cup and we’ve come close but lost in the semis, so I’m just trying to do everything I can to help us to get back there and try and win.”
Smart will be trying to add a third consecutive Bogart Cup to his and OJS’ trophy cabinet all while taking classes at Carleton Place University and hoping for an NCAA Division I or CIS scholarship to continue playing.