Avery Steele, a second-year Premier Division player (formerly with the Portland Jr. Pirates) joins his younger brother William in being two of the recently very productive Kings for head coach John Gurskis.
William Steele (’98) scored seven points in the seven games between Nov. 19 and Dec. 11, the Kings’ last game before the holiday break. In 27 games this year, he had 19 points. Avery (’97) missed time this year due to injuries, but when he has played, he’s been close to a point-per-game average with 16 points in 17 games.
The two are linemates, joining Max Sauve (a University of Vermont) on a scoring line for the Kings.
Although they play very well together, Gurskis said it was a good thing for William to skate without his brother for a short time during Avery’s injury.
“Will had to get along without playing with Avery, but now they’re back together and they’re picking up where they left off,” added Gurskis.
They’re also slightly different players, which also helps make the line work.
“Will is much more gritty. He doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and he walks a fine line between being undisciplined and just being hard to play against,” said Gurskis. “Avery could be the most skilled player. He also kills penalties and is a good faceoff guy.”
Having Sauve, a former Kings Midget player, on board with his Division 1 prospect skill set, certainly helps to elevate the Steeles’ game every time out.
“That’s working out well. They are three guys who can flat-out play the game,” said Gurskis. “They all have the offensive tools.”
On the other side, ’98 goalie Matthew Ladd – formerly of Avon Old Farms and the North American Hockey League – joined the Kings and has helped form a powerful, competitive trio with Josh Mayanja and Ben Churchfield.
“He’s played four and only lost one game. He is the type of kid who can steal you a game,” added Gurskis. “He moves well and plays the puck well.”
With so many changes and “a different lineup every night this year,” captain Tim Sweeney has been a very steadying presence.
“He’s done a great job of keeping everyone on the same page. I’ll tell him ‘I need you to play with these guys tonight,’ and he’s ready,” said Gurskis. “He might not get noticed on every game sheet, but he does the little things that helps you win hockey games.”