By Rob Benneian
(LaSALLE, ON) – The LaSalle Vipers have signed defenseman Dylan Naumovski, head coach and general manager Bill Bowler announced Saturday. Naumovski, 18, is a native of Shelby Township, MI, but has family in Tecumseh and frequently visits the area. Naumovski joins LaSalle after playing previously for the Michigan Warriors of the National Junior Prospects Hockey League.
“Dylan is a prospect with potential,” Bowler said. “He’s a right-shooting, ’96 defenseman who will be given an opportunity to be a Viper.”
Naumovski recorded two assists in four games with the Warriors this season and says he is excited for the opportunity to showcase his abilities at a higher level with the Vipers.
“It’s better hockey [in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League] and more visibility for college hockey,” Naumovski said. “It’s a good, competitive league with better hockey players in general.”
The 5’ 11”, 185 pound defender hopes to pursue a career in mechanical engineering and will be taking online courses, at a school back home in Michigan, while he patrols the blue line for LaSalle. He says he is looking forward to learning from Bowler’s experience, especially with the Vipers having graduated 10 players from last year’s squad to a higher level of hockey this season.
“[Coach Bowler] has a great attitude towards the game,” said Naumovski. “You can tell he has a lot of hunger to succeed.”
Naumovski made his Vipers debut Saturday against the Lambton Shores Predators, registering 2 penalty minutes.
LaSalle dominated the Predators, recording a 12-4 win and achieving a pair of team records.
Forward Korey Morgan, 20, scored four times in the contest, tying the Vipers record for goals in a game, most recently achieved by Mark Manchurek in a 12-5 win over the St. Marys Lincolns on January 15 at the Vollmer Centre.
Bryce Mayea also recorded that feat last season in a 5-1 win over the Chatham Maroons November 20, 2013, also at the Vollmer Centre.
The 12 goals scored tied a Vipers record as well.
“We worked hard for a lot of those goals and we found a way to put it in the net,” said Bowler. “Korey’s performed consistently since the start of the year. He deserved every goal he got, and probably could have had a few more, so credit to him for achieving that record.”
The Vipers snapped a five-game losing streak with the win. Their last two victories have come against the Predators, scoring a combined 21 goals in those two contests.
“You just want to play the right way,” Bowler continued. “When you’re in a slump, sometimes the puck doesn’t go in, it goes wide. Tonight it went in. We had a real good practice Thursday and we were rewarded for that tonight.”
Eric Kirby and Nathan Veres each recorded four assists, while Chris Pignanelli, Daniel Beaudoin, Connor Rosaasen, Graham Pickard and Brett Primeau all scored and had three point games.
Also scoring were Nicolas Crescenzi, Nikko Sablone, and Brendan Harrogate. In all, 12 Vipers recorded at least one point and nine had multi-point games.
Eli Billing stopped 26 shots to pick up the win, while Anthony Hurtubise took the loss, making 31 saves in relief of Andrew Harriman-Duke, who gave up four goals on seven attempts, in the first period.