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Troops select Poirier to lead off picks

NORTH BAY, Ont. – The North Bay Battalion made centre Zach Poirier of the Upper Canada Cyclones minor midgets the first of its 15 picks in the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection on Saturday.

The Battalion chose nine forwards, comprising two centres, three left wingers and four right wingers, five defencemen and one goaltender in the 15-round process conducted over the Internet.

Because of trades, the Troops, all but two of whose selections were born in 1998, had two picks in the sixth round and none in the 12th. OHL clubs selected a total of 300 players.

A right shot, Poirier is a six-foot, 185-pound resident of Mountain, Ont., who turns 16 on May 12. He scored 21 goals and earned 17 assists for 38 points in 29 games before contributing eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in seven playoff games.

“I had heard some things and expected to go sometime in the first three rounds, but I didn’t know Id go in the first round,” Poirier said by telephone. “I wasn’t really watching what was going on, but I got a lot of phone calls and texts. I’m excited to be coming to the Battalion. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Poirier, selected 14th overall, described himself as a responsible player on and off the ice.  

“I can play my position and I have good sense on the ice. I know where to be. Im a two-way player who likes to get physical in the corners and down low in the offensive zone. I like to shoot the puck, too. I need to work on my first three steps. I need to get a lot quicker so I can get away from guys on the ice.”

Poirier also registered one goal and one assist for two points in four games with the junior A Kemptville 73s of the Central Canada Hockey League.

“I enjoyed playing with Kemptville. I noticed the guys are a lot stronger and it wasn’t as easy to knock them around. Theyre so much quicker. It wasn’t too hard to keep up, but it was tougher to get away from them.”

In the second round, 34th overall, the Battalion selected left winger David Sherman of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens minor midgets. Sherman, six-feet-three, 176 pounds, produced 21 goals and 16 assists for 37 points in 33 games and had five points, including three goals, in seven games at the OHL Cup in March. The Mississauga resident turns 16 on May 17.

“It was kind of a surprise,” said Sherman. “I was watching it, and my name came up. It’s still a little hard to believe and will probably take a bit to sink in. I had an idea that three or four teams might be interested in me, and North Bay was one of them. Playing up there would be like playing for a National Hockey League team. That’s what they mean to the community.”

Sherman described himself as a “skilled power forward.”

“Im good in the offensive zone and good around the net. Im good at finding loose pucks and I try to use the players around me the best I can. I try and feed off them. You have to play at both ends of the rink. If you just play one way, you won’t go very far. You need to get pucks out and defend against other players. It’s a big part of the game.

“I’ll have a busy summer. I need to get stronger and work as hard as I can to compete for a spot on the team next season.”

North Bay took left winger Cam Morrison of the York-Simcoe Express minor midgets in the third round, 44th overall. A six-foot-one, 187-pound resident of Aurora, Ont., Morrison had 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 32 games. He turns 16 on Aug. 27.

In the fourth round the Battalion used the 74th overall pick on left-shot defenceman Jacob Ramalho of the Ottawa Jr. 67’s minor midgets. The six-foot-two, 207-pound Ramalho recorded 26 points, including five goals, in 30 games and added three points, including two goals, in six games at the OHL Cup. He turns 16 on May 25.

Right winger Kyle Moore of the Toronto Red Wings minor midgets was tabbed in the fifth round, 94th overall. Moore, who hails from Indian Trail, N.C., had 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points in 31 games. The five-foot-10 164-pounder turned 16 on Jan. 20.

The Battalion had two picks in the sixth round, and the first, 104th overall, was used to select right winger Steve Harland of the Toronto Young Nats midgets. Harland, who turns 18 on May 10, produced 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points in 32 games.

Four picks later the Troops chose goaltender Jack Ondrovic of the Ottawa Senators minor midgets. A six-foot-three, 180-pound resident of Nepean, Ont., Ondrovic posted a goals-against average of 3.28 and one shutout in 17 games. He turned 16 on Feb. 20.

Defenceman Nate Ellis of the Southern Tier Admirals minor midgets was the seventh-round choice, 134th overall. A left shot, Ellis had five goals and 10 assists for 15 points in 39 games. A six-foot, 172-pound resident of Fonthill, Ont., Ellis turns 16 on May 29.

The Battalion’s eighth-round choice was right winger Kyle Thomas, taken 154th overall from the South Central minor midgets. The six-foot-three 189-pounder from Toronto recorded eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 34 games. He turned 16 on March 3.

Left winger Jamie Huber of the Wingham Ironmen of the Western Jr. C League was chosen in the ninth round, 174th overall. A resident of Goderich, Ont., who turns 17 on Aug. 6, the five-foot-eight, 160-pound Huber produced 41 goals and 41 assists for 82 points in 35 games.

In the 10th round, North Bay pegged right-shot blueliner Mitch Livingston of the Barrie Jr. Colts minor midgets with the 194th selection. A six-foot-one, 149-pound resident of Beeton, Ont., Livingston had one goal and nine assists for 10 points in 32 games.

The Troops tabbed left-shot rearguard Cameron Dineen of the New Jersey Rockets under-19s in the 11th round, 214th overall. A five-foot-10, 159-pound resident of Toms River, N.J., Dineen scored four goals and added 23 assists for 27 points in 45 games. He turns 16 on June 19.

In the 13th round, 254th overall, the Battalion selected right winger Justin Brazeau of the New Liskeard Cubs minor midgets, who was listed at five-feet-10 and 140 pounds. Brazeau, who turned 16 on Feb. 2, had 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 30 games.

Left-shot centre Brendan D’Agostino of the Hamilton Bulldogs minors midgets was the 14th-round choice, 274th overall. D’Agostino, five-feet-nine and 152 pounds, had 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points in 40 games. He turned 16 on Friday.

The Battalion picked left-shot defenceman Carter McCormick of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs minor midgets in the 15th round, 294th overall. McCormick, five-feet-11 and 166 pounds, had three goals and nine assists for 12 points in 27 games. He will be 16 on Oct. 20.

The Sarnia Sting chose left-shot defenceman Jakob Chychrun of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens with the No. 1 pick.

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