Junior hockey: Nordiques, Thunder add players to bolster rosters

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The L/A Nordiques bolstered their lineup for the upcoming NA3HL Showcase by acquiring three players Thursday.

The Nordiques received 18-year-old forward Trent Sheldon in a trade with the Texas Brahmas, part of a three-team trade in which the Nordiques sent Nicolas Lusignan to the Binghamton Jr. Senators.

The NA3HL Showcase is in Blaine, Minnesota, from Dec. 16-18. There, the Nordiques will take on the Milwaukee Power, Granite City Lumberjacks and the St. Louis Jr. Blues.

Sheldon, an Oakville, Ontario native, is 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds had two goals and 10 assists in 20 games with the Brahmas.

The Nordiques also signed forward Jared Katz, who has been well-traveled this season, having started the preseason with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League before latching onto the Odessa Jackalopes and the Northeast Generals of the North American Hockey League.

Katz is 6-foot-1, 210-pound 20-year-old from Holmdel, New Jersey.

Both players play a hard-nosed game.

“We are going out to Minnesota, and we wanted to add a little bit of a more physical element,” Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud said. “We were able to bring in a couple of guys that fill that role. The teams that we are going to be playing have bigger, more physical play, board battles. We wanted to make sure our team still can use our skill but has room to do so and has guys that can compete with them.”

Robichaud expects Katz to be a top-line player at the Tier III level.

L/A’s third move of the day the team was the signing of 20-year-old goaltender Owen Liskiewicz of Redbank, New Jersey, who has spent the majority of past two seasons in Canadian Junior “A” Leagues. Last year, he spent time in the Ontario Junior Hockey League with the Cobourg Cougars and the Toronto Patriots, going 9-10-1 with a 2.70 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

He also appeared in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey league and Western States Hockey League during the 2016-17 season.

The Nordiques signed Liskiewicz so the 6-foot-4, 185-pound netminder can get back in shape and back into the Canadian Junior Hockey League system or the NAHL.

“We are kind of helping out Owen to get back up to Tier II,” Robichaud said. “He needed some training, ice time and to get conditioned. So, his (family) advisor contacted me and told him this would be a good spot for him to get conditioned, get in shape and work with (goalie) coach (John) Racine, two practices a day. He will probably get a couple games in the next two weeks and we will probably use him in the showcase to get some looks from the Tier II teams (scouting the event). Hopefully after Christmas break he will be moving up to Tier II.”

THUNDER SIGN GARNEAU

The Twin City Thunder also made a move Thursday, signing 19-year-old Nicholas Garneau, a native of Blainsville, Quebec.

Garneau started the season with the Brockville Braves of the Central Canadian Hockey League, appearing in five games and recording no points.

“Nick will be a good forward for us. He’s a good skater, he got good speed and he got a nice set of hands,” Friedman said. “He should be able to provide some offense for us, which any team always wants.”

The 5-foot-11, 150-pound forward is no stranger to the organization as he played for coach Doug Friedman the previous two seasons at Kents Hill, where he had 17 goals and 16 assists in 31 games last season. He also played for general manager Ben Gray with the Maine Moose’s 18U team, helping the Moose to a Tier II 18U national championship.

Friedman expects some rust early on from him because of the few games Garneau has played this season.

“Anytime a player comes in and he hasn’t had a lot of games, there will be an adjustment on that end,” Friedman said. “He had a strong preseason showing with Smith Falls (Bears), where he had a couple of goals for them.”

Garneau started the preseason with Smith Falls and logged two goals and an assist before getting released. He signed with Brockville in the middle of September.

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